Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Although some people may experience depression only once or twice throughout their lifetime, it is more common for people to have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day, and may include:

• Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
• Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities
• Sleep disturbances, including sleeping too little or sleeping too much
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming oneself for things that aren’t one’s responsibility
• Poor energy
• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
• Changes in appetite—often reduced appetite and weight loss, but can sometimes include increased cravings for food and weight gain
• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
• Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches


For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in their day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Other people may feel depressed without knowing why.

Depression symptoms in children and teens
Common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.
• In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or being underweight.
• In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interaction.

Depression symptoms in older adults
Depression is not a normal part of growing older. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, such as:
• Memory difficulties or personality changes
• Physical aches or pain
• Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems, aches or loss of interest in sex
• Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things
• Suicidal thinking or feelings. The risk for completed suicide is highest in elders, especially in older men.

Depression During Pregnancy
• 10%- 25% of pregnant women experience depression
• Depression during pregnancy is strongest predictor of postpartum depression
• 15% of women with untreated depression during pregnancy attempt suicide

Postpartum Depression
• 50-75% experience “baby blues”
o Usually in first 10 days & peak around 5 days
o Symptoms do not interfere with social/ occupational function
• 10- 20% of new moms experience major depression usually within a few months of delivery

Postpartum psychosis
• 1/ 500 women
• 2 days– 4 weeks following delivery
• Delusions and hallucinations
• Mood swings
• Confusion/ disorganized behavior
• Infanticide & suicide in 4% & 5% of women, respectively
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