Decoding the Signs of Depression

What is depression?

Depression is a complex mood disorder characterized by a persistent state of sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, a sense of worthlessness, and irritability. It affects a person’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being, disrupting their personal and professional lives.

Depression is a common disorder that varies in severity from person to person. Despite being one of the most common psychological conditions, millions of people are affected by depression each year. According to the WHO( World Health Organization), more than 700,000 people die due to suicide every year. Depression is responsible for 850,000 deaths every year, with severe depression leading to suicide. An estimated 5% of the adult population globally suffers from depression.

Depression is probably the most used and overgeneralized term nowadays,thanks to misinformation and a lack of awareness’! Everyone gets sad, frustrated, or hopeless every other day. Depression is not our common everyday sadness; it is a serious mental condition that can wreak havoc in a person’s life if left unchecked. There are three forms of depression: mild, moderate, and severe.

There are characteristic symptoms and signs for the diagnosis of depression that are used to categorize and differentiate ‘depression’ from ‘sadness’. Signs and symptoms are almost used interchangeably, but in the case of depression, both of these terms differ in meaning.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Symptoms of depression are said to be internal experiences a person is facing with a disorder. In the case of depression, a person is having internal conflicts such as hopelessness, a sense of worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts without attempt. This internal conflict is reflected in a person’s social and personal life, sabotaging their emotional and mental well-being.These symptoms must be present in episodes and occur almost every day for longer periods of time.

What are the signs of depression?

Signs of depression can be defined as observable key indicators of depression, manifested in the form of external cues or external behaviors. The signs can be internally felt and reported by the person suffering from depression and externally observed by others around the person.

Both signs and symptoms are used to form the basis of the diagnosis of depression. Determining the observed behavior of a person can be a key factor in the early detection and treatment of depression. The signs of depression may include:

The outlook of hopelessness

The first and probably foremost sign that can be inferred from depression is the outlook of hopelessness in a person. It is something that can be easily observed and noticed in the everyday life of a person—being hopeless! Although hopelessness could be caused by loads of other factors, such as a bad day at the job, a delay in allowance, a fight with your husband or wife, etc., the hopelessness in the case of depression sinks very firmly into the appearance of the person. People tend to talk about being hopeless about their lives, their existence, and being a burden for their loved ones. As a consequence, it is often said that a person suffering from depression before their suicide attempt might appear unusually happy or cheerful before their suicide attempt in the hope that it is going to end since there is no life to live.

Loss of interest in activities

Depression affects a person’s life in such a way that it takes out the joy from their life. Activities that were previously enjoyed by the person no longer interest them or make them happy. As a result, an individual becomes more drawn out and further isolated due to their constant inability to participate in activities. A person might completely isolate themselves from the world and have no contact with people around them, including their families and loved ones. Loss of interest is an early indicator of recognizing depression.

Fatigue and sleeping problems 

In depression, a person withdraws from all the social and physical activities of life. This can also occur due to a lack of energy and a constant state of stress. This constant fatigue might cause them to sleep excessively even during the day, hence disrupting their sleeping pattern. Over time, this can lead to conditions like insomnia, where a person is unable to fall or stay asleep. Disrupted sleep could also lead to anxiety caused by restlessness due to a lack of proper sleep.

Depression and anxiety

In the case of depression, anxiety often comes together; either the anxiety is followed by depression or vice versa; sometimes they both exist together. Anxiety is a common condition characterized by worry and uneasiness in a person. It’s a normal occurrence in everyday life, but in the case of depression, anxiety often becomes a drastically worsening condition.

Anxiety is characterized by a persistent state of uneasiness, restlessness, sweating, difficulty breathing and concentrating, and feelings of danger or panic.


Irritability in depression is more commonly seen in men than women. Probably because research shows men are less likely to seek treatment for their condition. The feeling of stigma or showing their emotions might be the one factor that prevents them from seeking help, leaving their pent-up emotions unchecked. As a result, they tend to engage in risky behavior as compared to women.

Suicidal thoughts and attempts

The suicide rates resulting from depression have increased in recent years, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Depression is considered one of the major risk factors for suicide. The duration of COVID-19 has further pushed the boundaries of isolation for a person with depression. A person having the slight intent of self-harm is one of the most important key indicators of the recognition of the unfortunate blues.

Getting help and noticing!

Depression can be effectively treated with the help of medication and psychological intervention. Help is always available around the corner. As for the family and friends, having mental health awareness is a guide to recognizing the early signs of depression. Observing behaviors or small or slight fluctuations of behavior could be a warning sign of depression.

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