Depression Symptoms – Recognize The Warning Signs

Depression is common but serious. It’s a mood disorder that deeply affects lives. About 17.3 million adults deal with this in the United States. That’s 7.1% of the adult population. This condition causes significant symptoms. It changes how people feel, think, and do things each day. For a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must last at least 2 weeks.

There are many types of depression. These include major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and more.1 Depression can seriously affect life. It makes it hard to work, study, sleep, or enjoy life. Knowing the signs and symptoms is crucial. It’s the first step to getting help and support.

Key Takeaways

  • Depression is a common but serious mental health condition that affects how a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities.
  • There are different types of depression, including major depression, persistent depressive disorder, perinatal depression, seasonal affective disorder, depression with psychosis, and bipolar disorder.
  • Depression can have a significant impact on a person’s life and can interfere with their ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life.
  • Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of depression is the first step in getting the necessary treatment and support.
  • Women are more likely than men to experience depression, with nearly 10.5% of women experiencing symptoms compared to around 5.6% of men.1

What is Depression?

Depression is a serious mood disorder impacting feelings, thoughts, and daily life.1 It leads to a long-lasting sad or anxious mood, loss of interest, and fatigue. These symptoms can stop a person from working, studying, and enjoying life.

There are many types of depression. Each one has unique signs and needs different treatments.

Major Depression

Major depressive disorder lasts at least 2 weeks and makes daily life hard.1 It’s very common, affecting about 264 million people globally.1

Persistent Depressive Disorder

Persistent depressive disorder is a long-lasting, milder form of depression. It can last over two years.1 Even though it’s not as intense as major depression, it still affects life.

Perinatal Depression

Perinatal depression affects women during pregnancy or after giving birth.1 It can touch off challenges for both the mother and her family.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder comes and goes with the seasons.1 It often gets worse in winter with less daylight, and fades in spring and summer.

Depression with Psychosis

Depression with psychosis is a severe depression type. It includes delusions and hallucinations.1 Immediate medical care and special therapy are needed for this.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes extreme changes in mood, energy, and activity.1 It can alternate between depressive and manic episodes, affecting daily function.

To find the right treatment, a proper depression type diagnosis is essential. With support and treatment, people with depression can better their lives.

Who Gets Depression?

Depression doesn’t pick. It can impact anyone, young or old, man or woman, rich or poor. Around one in six people will deal with a major episode of depression at least once. Each year, an alarming 16 million adults are hit with clinical depression.2

No one is safe, but some are more at risk. Things like family history or going through big life changes can make depression more likely. Stressful events, certain medical issues, and using drugs or alcohol are also big risks. For reasons not yet fully understood, depression is more common in women, especially as young adults or seniors.3

Your brain’s chemistry and life events are big players in depression. When key brain chemicals, neurotransmitters, are off, you might feel down. And if you have health problems like diabetes or heart disease, your chance of getting depressed can go up. Bad experiences, especially if you lack support, can also push you towards depression.2

Estimated percentage of adults globally who suffer from depression5%3
Approximate number of people in the world with depression280 million3
Percentage of pregnant women and women who have just given birth who experience depression worldwideOver 10%3
Percentage of people in low- and middle-income countries who receive no treatment for mental disordersMore than 75%3

Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression shows up with many signs, affecting how we feel, think, and act. It’s key to know these signs so we can get help early.4

Persistent Sad or Anxious Mood

Feeling sad or hopeless most of the day, every day, is a big sign of depression.4 This often comes with increased anxiety and irritability.4

Feelings of Hopelessness or Pessimism

Depression can leave us feeling like life won’t ever improve.4 You might feel worthless or like you’re a burden to others.4

Loss of Interest or Pleasure

You might not enjoy things you used to. This can include hobbies or meeting up with friends.4 You might also find it hard to keep up with daily tasks.4

Fatigue and Lack of Energy

Feeling tired all the time, not having energy, and finding simple tasks hard can be from depression.4 This might include finding it hard to get up in the morning.4

Difficulty Concentrating

Depression can make it tough to concentrate or make decisions.4 You might have a hard time with memory or finishing tasks.4

Sleep Disturbances

Depression often messes with our sleep.4 This can mean trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much.4 Bad sleep can make other symptoms worse.4

Appetite and Weight Changes

Our appetite and weight can change with depression.4 Some might lose their appetite and weight, while others eat more and gain weight.4

Physical Aches and Pains

Physical symptoms like headaches and body aches are also linked to depression.4 These can be just as hard to deal with as the emotional side of depression.4

Suicidal Thoughts or Attempts

In very serious cases, depression can make us think about or act on suicidal thoughts.4 It’s critical to get help immediately if you or someone you know feels this way.4

It’s vital to remember that depression affects everyone differently in intensity and duration.4 Getting help from a professional is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning.4

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common signs and symptoms of depression

Depression Symptoms in Men and Women

Depression hits both men and women, but they deal with it differently.5 It’s important to know these differences to spot the signs early. Then, we can offer the right help and care.

Depression in Men

Men and women often handle depression in their ways.6 Men might hide how they feel, use harmful ways to cope like drinking, and often underestimate the real impact.6 They could show signs through their relationships, by trying to avoid reality, or through health problems and substance abuse.6 Unfortunately, men might not seek help or get diagnosed, making things harder for them.6

Men face a higher risk of dying by suicide due to depression.7 They choose more dangerous methods and might show fewer signs they’re struggling.6 It’s critical for men with suicidal thoughts to reach out to hotlines or centers.6

Depression in Women

On the other hand, women often receive a diagnosis of depression more than men.5 Depression ranks as the top concern for women’s health.5 They might show different symptoms, like anxiety, and they tend to talk about physical issues.7 Problems like gender equality can make women more prone to depression.7

Women think about suicide more, but they attempt it less than men.5 This shows how important it is to support and notice these feelings in women, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community. They might face extra challenges in getting help.5

Exercise, no matter how little, can make us feel better about ourselves and fight off depression.5 But remember, it’s crucial to get professional support. Ignored depression can badly affect our lives.6 With the help they need, anyone can beat depression and feel good again.

Depression in Teenagers and Older Adults

Depression looks different in teens and older folks.8 Symptoms vary by age group, needing unique approaches for identification and care.8

Teenage Depression

Teen depression is a big deal, making teenagers feel persistently sad.8 It can make them lose interest in things they used to enjoy.8

About one in eight teens go through this.9 Many things can make depression more likely in teens, like obesity or peer issues.8

Bullying, school stress, and even conditions like bipolar disorder play a role.8 Without help, teens can turn to alcohol or drugs, have trouble in school, fight with their family, or even try to hurt themselves.8

But, there are ways to lower the risks, such as managing stress and increasing self-esteem.8 It’s also crucial to reach out for help at the first signs of trouble.8

Depression in Older Adults

Depression is also a big issue for seniors.2 About one in six people will have a major depressive episode at some point.2 In a year, up to 16 million older adults deal with depression.2

Changes in brain chemistry, genetics, and overall health can up the depression risk in older people.2 So can big life changes or not having enough help.2

But there’s help available.2 Lifestyle changes, medicines, and talking therapies can all make a big difference.2

It’s essential to understand depression’s unique impacts by age. Recognizing and acting early is vital for tackling depression at any stage of life.89

Teenage depression

Different Types of Depression

Depression comes in different forms, just like people do. It’s not just about your age or whether you’re a boy or a girl. The kind of depression someone has affects how they should be treated to feel better.


Major [types of depression] makes you feel down or lose interest in things for weeks.1Persistent depressive disorder is similar but lasts much longer, over two years maybe.1 Perinatal [types of depression] hits during or after having a baby. If it’s during, it’s called prenatal. If after, it’s postpartum.1

Seasonal affective disorder shows up in the colder months and goes away in the sunnier ones.1[Types of depression] with psychosis is more serious. It makes you see or believe things that aren’t real.1 Bipolar disorder moves between times of feeling ultra happy to very low and sad.1

In the DSM-5-TR, you’ll find more types like disruptive mood dysregulation and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.1 Sometimes, what happens in our life triggers depression. Other times, it’s changes in our brain’s chemistry.10If depression lasts over two years, it’s persistent depressive disorder.10

PMDD affects women right before their period starts.10 With bipolar disorder, the low times bring on major [types of depression].10 The feelings you get from depression, like deep sadness or anxiety, can vary from person to person.10

Your doctor might label depression brought on by stress as “stress response syndrome”.10About 1 in 10 dads also feel depressed around the time a baby is born.10 Seasonal affective disorder can often be lifted with antidepressants in the winter.10

Usually, typical antidepressants aren’t the first choice for bipolar symptoms.10 Therapies like talking to a psychotherapist can be very helpful.10Depression might look different in different people.10

There are special therapies for atypical depression.10When regular treatments don’t work, there are still options like ECT or TMS.10

Depression and Anxiety

Anxiety and [depression] are different yet often linked. It’s seen that over 40 percent of those with major [depression] also have an anxiety disorder.11

The link between them is complex. Facing one issue makes you more likely to face the other. For instance, deep [depression] can make you anxious about your symptoms, making things worse.211

Factors like genetics, biology, and your surroundings all play a part. Changes in brain chemicals, like in serotonin levels, can lead to both [depression] and anxiety.2 And stressful events, trauma, and a lack of support also play a role.2

Luckily, there are ways to deal with both when they come together. Therapy, medication, and changing your lifestyle can all help. This approach helps reduce symptoms and improve your life.211

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Depression or Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, or manic depression, is known for big shifts in mood and energy levels.12 It often gets confused with regular depression when someone’s feeling low.12 But, treating it wrong, like with antidepressants, can make it worse.

Depression is quite common, affecting many people.12 On the other hand, bipolar disorder is less so, impacting about 6 million adults in the U.S.12 It usually starts showing up around age 25, earlier than depression.12

With bipolar disorder, you feel extreme highs and lows.12 You might experience hypomania, a less serious form of mania.12 Sometimes, other issues like anxiety or ADHD come along, making it harder to diagnose and treat.12

It’s key to diagnose bipolar disorder right, as its treatment is not the same as for depression.13 Those with bipolar usually need medicine that keeps their moods stable, like lithium.13 Antidepressants are not the main treatment, to avoid mood swings.13

Dealing with bipolar can be tough, but a mix of talking and drugs can help manage it.12 This way, people can lead full lives despite their disorder.12

Other Conditions That May Mimic Depression

Many conditions, both mental and medical, can look like depression. This includes anxiety and bipolar disorder. It’s important to know about these. Knowing can help people get the right treatment and not get misdiagnosed.14

ADHD can cause situational depression. This is because the stress of dealing with ADHD’s challenges can make someone feel very low.14 Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) brings on fatigue similar to depression. It also affects memory, concentration, and sleep.14 Sometimes, diabetes and depression share symptoms like weakness and tiredness.14

Fibromyalgia causes ongoing muscle pain. It’s linked to depression through chemical imbalances in the brain and constant pain.14 PMDD causes depression-like symptoms. This happens because of changes in the menstrual cycle.14 A lack of vitamin D can cause tiredness and mood swings. This might be confused with depression.14

ConditionSymptoms That May Mimic Depression
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)Situational depression due to stress of managing ADHD challenges14
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)Fatigue, memory issues, concentration problems, sleep disturbances14
DiabetesWeakness, fatigue14
FibromyalgiaChronic muscle pain, brain chemical imbalances14
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)Cyclical changes related to the menstrual cycle14
Vitamin D DeficiencyFatigue, mood changes14

Recognizing these conditions is critical. It allows people to partner with healthcare providers for the right care. This leads to better health and happiness.

Suicide Warning Signs

Depression often leads to suicide.15 Feeling extremely sad and hopeless might drive someone to consider taking their life. It’s crucial to treat any mention of suicide or unusual behavior seriously. Watch for these signs:

  • 15 Increased alcohol or drug use
  • 15 Withdrawal from activities
  • 15 Isolation from family and friends
  • 15 Giving away prized possessions
  • 15 Changes in behavior related to a painful event, loss, or change

15 Most often, those reflecting on suicide may feel depressed, anxious, or lose interest in things they used to enjoy. They might also show signs of irritability, shame, anger, or suddenly appear happier.

15 Risk factors for suicide include prior attempts, a family history of suicide, as well as experiences of abuse or trauma in childhood.

16 Older individuals facing the loss of a spouse, through death or divorce, are more at risk.16 Suicide rates for white men over 65 are notably high. While women attempt suicide more often, men are more likely to die from it.16 Rates are also significant among young people and the elderly.

16 Warning signs are usually present: around half to three quarters of suicide contemplators will exhibit them.16 Those dealing with substance abuse, a history of abuse, or a previous suicide attempt, and individuals in affected professions are especially at risk.

16 Certain jobs, like those of police officers and health care providers serving terminally ill patients, can bring a higher suicide risk.

depression symptoms

Recognizing the signs of [depression symptoms] is a key first step.2 These symptoms vary and might point to other issues.2 Common signs include constant sadness, losing interest in things, being very tired, and problems focusing. Other signs are sleeping badly, not wanting to eat, changes in weight, feeling physical pain, and thinking about suicide.2

One in six people might face a major bout of depression in their lives.2 In the U.S., up to 16 million adults suffer from depressive symptoms yearly.2 Many things can make depression more likely, such as our genes, health issues, major life events, and not having enough support.2

Even though dealing with depression can be quite hard, there are good treatments.2 Lifestyle changes, medicine, and therapies like CBT help. They focus on managing bad thoughts and behaviors, which can stop the cycle of depression.2

Key StatisticValue
Percentage of U.S. adults affected by depression in a given year6.7%1
Number of U.S. adults who had at least one major depressive episode in 201616.2 million1
Prevalence of major depressive disorder in women vs. menMore prevalent in women1
Percentage of women aged 18-25 with depressionHigher than other age groups1
Percentage of U.S. adults with persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)1.5%1
Percentage of people with depression who also have anxiety symptoms57%1
Percentage of people with substance use disorders who also experience clinical depression30%1
Percentage of those with depression reporting difficulty working due to the condition80%1

Risk Factors for Depression

Many things can make someone more likely to get [risk factors for depression]. These could be due to family history, tough life events, or certain health issues.1

Your genes might make you more at risk, especially if others in your family have had depression.1 Big stress or sad events, like losing someone you love or facing money problems, can also lead to feeling depressed.2

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Having certain health problems, like diabetes or heart disease, can increase your risk.2 Changes in your brain’s chemicals, such as serotonin levels, can also affect how you feel.2

Issues in our society, like not enough support or facing a lot of pressure, can also play a part in [risk factors for depression].2

Everyone’s experience with depression is unique. It is usually a mix of these risk factors.1 But, there are ways to help, including talking to a therapist, taking medicine, or using special treatments.1

Treating Depression

Even severe cases of depression can be treated. Treatment starts best when it’s early. A mix of talking therapy and medicine usually works to ease depression.


Therapy, like CBT and interpersonal therapy, helps people with depression. It targets negative thoughts, teaches better ways to cope, and enhances problem-solving.17


There are several types of medicines for depression. This includes SSRIs, SNRIs, atypical antidepressants, and more.17 Since effects can vary, trying different types might be needed. Remember, abruptly stopping these drugs isn’t advised because it can cause side effects.17

Brain Stimulation Therapies

For rare cases not responding to typical treatments, brain stimulation may help. Esketamine is a new, fast-acting option. But, use caution with young people, as it might trigger thoughts of self-harm at first.1

Combining different treatments helps battle depression. This can include therapy, medicine, and sometimes, more advanced therapies. Working closely with healthcare providers is crucial. This ensures the treatment plan is the best fit for each person’s unique situation.


Depression is severe, affecting how people feel, think, and go about daily life.18 The WHO says it’s the top reason for disability around the globe. It also leads to about 40,000 suicides yearly in the U.S.18 Knowing the signs, like feeling down a lot, losing interest, or thinking of harming yourself, is crucial. These signs mean it’s time to get help.

Certain groups are hit harder by depression symptoms.18 It’s seen more in women than men. Also, almost 4.4% of young people in the U.S. between 3 to 17 face it.18 Understanding how this illness can vary helps make sure everyone gets the right help.

Thankfully, depression is treatable.19 Therapy, medication, and other treatments work. If you know the signs and reach out for help, you’re on the path to beat depression. Getting the right support and treatment lets people manage and enjoy life fully again.


What is depression?

Depression is a serious mood disorder. It affects how people feel, think, and act in their daily lives. Different types include major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and others. These types vary in their symptoms and how long they last.

Who gets depression?

Anyone can get depression, no matter their age, gender, or background. Certain things can make you more likely to have it. Like a family history, life changes, stress, some illnesses, and using drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, people might be more at risk, such as women. It can happen to anyone, from kids to seniors.

What are the common signs and symptoms of depression?

Signs include feeling really sad or anxious all the time. You might lose interest in things you used to enjoy. Plus, you could be very tired, have trouble focusing, or not sleep well. Changes in appetite, pains, and even wishing you weren’t alive are also signs.

How do depression symptoms differ in men and women?

Men and women can show their depression in different ways. Men might seem angry or aggressive, while women often feel overly emotional. These differences can make it hard for others to notice when someone is depressed.

How does depression affect teenagers and older adults?

For teens, depression can show in irritability more than sadness. They might also have trouble at school or with friends. In older adults, it might bring more physical complaints than emotional ones. These can include pain or not wanting to eat.

What are the different types of depression?

Major depression is the most severe type. Persistent depressive disorder lasts a long time. Seasonal affective disorder comes and goes with the seasons. Depression with psychosis means losing touch with reality. Bipolar disorder involves swings between depression and mania.

How is depression related to anxiety?

Anxiety and depression often come together. Anxiety can spark depression, or the other way around. More than 40 percent of people with major depression also have an anxiety disorder, studies show.

How can I tell if I have depression or bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder changes between high and low phases. It’s tricky because the low phase looks a lot like depression. But if it’s bipolar, treating it as just depression can make it worse. So, it’s key to see a doctor who understands the differences.

What other conditions can mimic the symptoms of depression?

Conditions like thyroid problems, low nutrients, chronic pain, and some medications can look like depression. It’s important for a doctor to check other health issues before assuming it’s just depression.

What are the warning signs of suicide?

Being deeply depressed can lead to thoughts of suicide. Take it seriously if someone talks about or tries to kill themselves. Watch out for someone saying they feel like a burden or can’t bear the pain. Using more drugs or alcohol can also be a sign they’re thinking about suicide.

How is depression treated?

Depression is treatable, even when it’s very serious. Starting treatment early is best. Usually, a mix of therapy and medicine works. But what’s right for each person can be different.

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