Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression is often misunderstood. There are a surprisingly high number of people who are struck by major depression in the U.S. each year: nearly 10%. And few diseases are as misunderstood by the general public as depression.

We misuse terms that describe symptoms of depression every day—"Wow, he's like totally manic," or "The boss is going bipolar again," or "It's understandable you're depressed...your cat just died." 

These people might be suffering from major depression, but with no further information about their life-events, family history, and other symptoms, terms such as manic or bipolar are simply labels of our modern culture.

It’s important to understand that people who suffer from depression are not “just sad,” “weak,” “need to ‘just get over it,’” or “grief-stricken.” 

While grief has been considered to be one of the causes of depression, grief (the act of grieving) is often appropriate and healthy, and is not a sure indicator of depression.

(Further, grief is not just about the impact of the death of a family member or friend. Many people grieve when they lose pets, go through divorce, lose a job, and other life events.)

The various types of depression are very distinct, but they all share a common set of symptoms. Diagnosis oftentimes is dependent upon the number of symptoms present, and how severe they are.

 Symptoms of Depression

  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Exhaustion/lack of energy
  • Low self-image
  • Destructive self-criticism
  • Feelings of shame and/or guilt
  • Manic behavior
  • Mood swings
  • Anger
  • Excessive sleep
  • Suicidal thoughts or acts 
  • Feelings of “emptiness”
  • Pessimism about the future
  • Low sex drive
  • Mental impairment (difficulty concentrating, loss of memory)

Not ALL depression sufferers experience ALL of the above symptoms but if you experience most you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

Some depression sufferers describe the feeling as a complete lack of joy, even lacking the enjoyment they used to get from certain favorite activities.  Most often a strong sense of hopelessness and helplessness is also felt.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

Are There Variations of CBT? What is REBT?

How Does CBT and REBT Provide Relief & Help?
Using CBT/REBT to Overcome Depression, Anxiety
How CBT/REBT Can Help For Anxiety & Panic
Recommended CBT & REBT Self-Help Books


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The StressGroup provides free information for those suffering with mental health issues.  Experts in the field of depression, anger management, anxiety disorders, stress and other mental health fields have contributed their expertise to bring this comprehensive resource together.  We are dedicated to providing quality information at no charge. WARNING: Self-help may be useful, but should not be considered a substitute for professional help. Emotional and behavioral disturbances may be debilitating and dangerous. You should not hesitate to seek professional help: if you have thoughts of killing yourself or harming others; if you feel depressed, anxious, guilty or down on yourself frequently, suffer from anxeity; ifyou are abusing substances; if your performance or interpersonal relationships are seriously impaired. Copyright 2004-2018---StressGroup, Worldwide Rights Reserved. The self-help information on this web site is for purposes of information and education, not psychotherapy or counseling. See Terms of Use for important information pertaining to the use of all materials on this website.