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Symptoms of Depression

If you are depressed, you may feel hopeless and sad or lose interest or stop taking pleasure in almost everything you do. You may feel "down in the dumps," tearful, or discouraged. You may also feel irritable, anxious, or apathetic.

To be diagnosed with depression, you must have symptoms of both:

  • Sadness or hopelessness.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most of your daily activities.

You must also have at least five symptoms lasting more than two weeks including:

  • A change in eating patterns that causes either weight gain or weight loss.
  • Sleeping too much or not enough.
  • Feeling restless and unable to sit still, or feeling moving takes a great effort.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Feeling unworthy or guilty without an obvious reason.
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
  • Thinking often about death or suicide.

Other symptoms of depression may include:

  • Headaches and other body aches and pains.
  • Digestive problems, including constipation or diarrhea.
  • Losing interest in sex or not being able to perform sexually.
  • Feeling anxious or worried without an obvious reason.
  • Blaming yourself or others for your depression.
  • Not moving or talking for long periods of time (hours).

Symptoms of depression that occur more often in women include:

  • Overeating and weight gain instead of loss of appetite.
  • Oversleeping instead of insomnia.
  • Increased tearfulness with the anxiety and tension.
  • A feeling sometimes of "heaviness" in the arms and legs.
  • Sensitivity to rejection.
  • Dysthymia together with an episode of depression (double depression).

Depression in older adults can include symptoms such as mild confusion or forgetfulness. However, these symptoms can also be caused by medications, so be sure to let your doctor know what medicines you are taking.