How to Identify Symptoms of Depression?

What you perceive as just sadness may be symptoms of depression. (Image via Pexels/ Darwis)
What you perceive as just sadness may be symptoms of depression. (Image via Pexels/ Darwis)

Understanding the symptoms of depression can be complicated, and they may differ greatly from person to person. You might experience sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities if you're depressed.

The symptoms generally last for several weeks or months and are severe enough to affect your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Men and women of any age are susceptible to depression. Everyone, regardless of their social status or ethnicity, is susceptible to depression.

Everyone of us can be susceptible to mental health concerns. (Image via Pexels/ Download)
Everyone of us can be susceptible to mental health concerns. (Image via Pexels/ Download)

What is Depression?

Depression is not the same as sadness. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
Depression is not the same as sadness. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)

It's normal to feel low occasionally, but when feelings like hopelessness and despair become pervasive and difficult to control, you may be suffering from depression. Symptoms of depression alter your thoughts, feelings, and ability to carry out daily tasks. It is more than just melancholy brought on by difficulties and failures in life.

It may make it difficult for you to work, study, eat, sleep, or simply enjoy life. It might be stressful just to get through the day. Regardless of how dismal you may feel, things can improve. You can start feeling better and resolve the issue by becoming aware of the various symptoms of depression.


How to Identify Symptoms of Depression?

It is essential to visit a mental health professional to understand what you are experiencing. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
It is essential to visit a mental health professional to understand what you are experiencing. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)

Although there are certain universal indications and symptoms of depression, each person experiences it differently. It's critical to keep in mind that these symptoms may accompany poor points in life. However, the more symptoms you experience, the more severe they are, and the longer they have persisted, the more likely it is that you are depressed.

Some individuals may attempt to conceal their symptoms of depression, while others may not even be aware that they are depressed. Some symptoms can be harder to spot, even though well-known ones like sadness or hopelessness can be easily identified.

Sadness is a common response to events that bring emotional distress or discomfort. There are several levels of sadness. Sadness, however, is fleeting and passes with time like other emotions. In contrast, depression is a longer-lasting mental disorder. It affects how well people perform in social, professional, and other spheres. If depression is not treated, its symptoms may persist for a very long time.

1) Weight and Appetite Fluctuations

There can be various symptoms of depression. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
There can be various symptoms of depression. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)

Symptoms of depression can also be excessive or insufficient eating. Some people use food as solace while others lose their appetite or consume less food when depressed. A person's weight can be altered as a result of these variations in food intake, and both mood and energy levels may be impacted.


2) Using Drugs or Alcohol

To cope with unpleasant emotions like melancholy, loneliness, or hopelessness, some people with mood disorders turn to alcohol or narcotics.

Almost 1 in 5 Americans who suffer from anxiety or mood conditions like depression also struggle with alcohol or drug abuse. However, the same proportion of individuals who have an alcohol or drug use disorder also have a mood disorder.


3) Superficial Joy

You don't have to hide what you truly feel in therapy. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
You don't have to hide what you truly feel in therapy. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)

Hidden depression is sometimes referred to as smiling depression. This is due to the possibility that those who conceal their symptoms may make an effort to maintain a cheerful demeanor when around other people.

It might be challenging to maintain this fake happiness and optimism, though. The mask may come off with time, and the person may start to exhibit signs of melancholy, hopelessness, or loneliness.


4) Less Optimism

Based on this notion, those who suffer from depression may exhibit a quality known as depressive realism. This implies that, compared to individuals without depression, they may have a more accurate perception of events and their ability to influence them. One indication of depression may be a tendency to be more pessimistic or realistic than others.


5) Reduced Drive

While identifying patterns of depressive symptoms, some medical experts look for significant indicators, including changes in motivation to do anything that was previously considered interesting. Depression is characterized by anhedonia, inability to experience pleasure and apathy, and an inability to carry out tasks.


How Symptoms of Depression Differ with Gender and Age?

The manifestation may be different but solution is the same. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)
The manifestation may be different but solution is the same. (Image via Freepik/ Freepik)

Symptoms of depression frequently differ between men and women, or between young people and elderly adults, depending on age and gender.

1) Men

Men who are depressed are less inclined to express thoughts of hopelessness and self-hatred. Instead, people typically lament their lack of energy, irritation, sleep issues, and interest in their jobs and interests. They are also more prone to exhibit signs of rage, hostility, carelessness, and drug usage.


2) Women

Signs of depression in women, including strong feelings of guilt, excessive sleep, overeating, and excess weight are more common in women. Hormonal changes in menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause might affect depression in women. In actuality, up to one in seven new mothers experience postpartum depression.


3) Teenagers

Teens with depression frequently exhibit irritability, hostility, and agitation more often than sadness. They might also express discomfort from physical problems like aches in their stomachs or headaches.


4) Aging Adults

Elderly folks frequently complain more about physical symptoms than emotional ones, such as weariness, unexpected aches and pains, and memory issues. They can also quit taking necessary health medications and disregard their appearance.


Depression frequently develops gradually, making it challenging to identify a problem. Many individuals attempt to manage their symptoms of depression without realizing they are ill. Sometimes, it takes a relative or close friend to raise a concern.

If a loved one has concealed depression, consider talking to them about it and providing them with nonjudgmental support and guidance. Those who think they might have symptoms of depression should start consulting a doctor or mental health expert about it.


Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.


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Edited by Susrita Das