Common Symptoms Of Depression

It is common and even expected for people to get sad or blue from time to time and consider themselves as depressed. However, this does not necessarily mean you are suffering from clinical depression – which is a very real and serious mental health problem, which should not be ignored.

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Normally, feelings of sadness, disappointment, and other signs of being blue will be mild to moderate and not long lasting. Of course, there are certain events in life, especially a tragedy or death of a loved one that can cause very strong and long lasting sad and negative feelings. But this is most likely a result of being in a state of grief, not necessarily clinical depression. Other than grief or some other type of traumatic experience, feelings of “depression” that are strong and long lasting could be symptoms of clinical depression.

People suffering from clinical depression can have a wide variety of symptoms, which varies from person to person. The seriousness of an individual’s depression also varies. There are some symptoms which indicate a serious and even dangerous level of depression. The single biggest overall factor to look for is a prolonged and marked change in a person’s behaviors and personality. Below are listed some of the most common causes and symptoms of clinical depression.


Common Causes of Depression

• Trauma or stress: Periods of high stress, traumatic events, or major life changes can push some people into a state of depression.

• Genetics: Depression can be inherited. Having a close relative with the condition can raise a person’s risk for developing it themselves.

• Negative personality traits: Chronic feelings of low self-esteem or pessimism can make a person prone to developing depression.

• Drugs, alcohol, and medications: These substances, especially if abused or misused, can cause a state of depression.

• Poor health, poverty, loneliness, and other social stigmas.

Suicidal Thoughts or Actions

This is the most serious of all depression symptoms. Chronic thoughts of suicide or any kind of suicidal behavior should be a large red flag and acted upon immediately. This kind of symptom requires quick and proper professional intervention. There are numerous suicide hot lines that can be called for help as well as other community mental health assistance groups.

Alcohol and Drug Use

It is a an old saying that problems may drive one to drink – and this is certainly true of depression. Many people who feel the pain of depression turn to drinking or drugs to ease that pain. This doesn’t mean that if you drink or use drugs that you are automatically depressed. But if you start using or increasing your use of these substances suddenly and become more dependent on them, this can be a sign of depression.

Changes In Eating Behavior

Just like some turn to booze or drugs for solace, others turn to food. This kind of symptom can vary – too increased food consumption, reduced food consumption and change in the kinds of food eaten. Some people who are depressed will start to chronically “pigging out” while others may lose their appetite and greatly reduce their food consumption. Then others will become dependent on a constant supply of comfort food such as chocolate, snacks, cake and other goodies.

Lack of Interest and Enjoyment

Sudden and long term changes of behavior and personality, including a loss of interest in friends, favorite activities and hobbies and particularly a lack of interest or enjoyment of sex are all very possible signs of depression. A person who was normally extroverted and smiled often who becomes introverted and sullen is a strong sign of depression.

Sleep Disorders

The development or worsening of sleep problems can be signs of depression. These include trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep and lack of effective and restful sleep. In addition to these symptoms of insomnia, chronic nightmares or night time panic attacks can be part of this dynamic. Of course, feelings of chronic fatigue and inability to concentrate are associated with this as well.

Emotional Outbursts and Instability

While almost everyone gets bouts of anger, frustration or laughing from time to time; repeated and sudden emotional outbursts are often telltale signs of depression. This is especially true if the person never behaved this way in the past. Most tellingly are these manic symptoms that are not connected to what’s going on at the moment – just outbursts of crying, anger and even laughing for no discernible reason.


If you feel you are suffering from some of these symptoms as described above, especially if they are chronic and have lasted for weeks – you should seek out proper professional mental health care as soon as possible, and absolutely immediately if you feel suicidal. There are numerous help lines and organizations to turn to, often without cost.

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