Symptoms of Depression

Before we Begin:

If you think you may have depression – Please Consult your GP immediately.

If your pain is urgent, or if you feel in danger of harming yourself or others here are some links to help:

  • Samaritans
  • Depression Helpline
  • Charities which deal with Depression
  • Emergency Services




  • continual low mood, sadness, feeling stuck.
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
  • feeling anxious or worried



  • Moving or speaking more slowly than usual (difficult to feel poised)
  • change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • constipation
  • unexplained aches and pains
  • lack of energy or lack of interest in sex
  • changes to your menstrual cycle
  • disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning)


  • not doing well at work
  • taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends
  • neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • having difficulties in your home and family life


Depression can come on gradually and so it can be difficult to notice that something is wrong. Many people continue to try to cope with their symptoms without realising they are ill.

It can take a friend or family member to suggest that something is wrong.

Doctors describe depression by how serious it is

  • Mild depression has some impact on your daily life.
  • Moderate depression has a significant impact on your daily life.
  • Severe depression makes it almost impossible to get through daily life. A few people with severe depression may have psychotic symptoms.


It can be hard to distinguish between grief and depression. They share many of the same characteristics, but there are important differences between them.

Grief is an entirely natural response to a loss, while depression is an illness.

People who are grieving find their feelings of loss and sadness come and go, but they’re still able to enjoy things and look forward to the future.

In contrast, people who are depressed have a constant feeling of sadness. They don’t enjoy anything and find it hard to be positive about the future.

Read more about grief and how it differs from depression.


There are different types of depression, and some conditions where depression may be one of the symptoms. These include:

  • Postnatal depression. Some women develop depression after having a baby. Postnatal depression is treated in similar ways to other forms of depression, with talking therapies and antidepressant medicines.
  • Bipolar disorder is also known as ‘manic depression’. It’s where there are spells of depression and also of excessively high mood (mania). The depression symptoms are similar to clinical depression, but the bouts of mania can include harmful behaviour such as gambling, going on spending sprees and having unsafe sex.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Also known as ‘winter depression’, SAD is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern usually related to winter.

Read more about diagnosing depression.