Horizon Counseling Services

Feeling Down? The Top 20 Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Crystalyn Hori-Wilson
Crystalyn Hori-Wilson

Hi, I've been working in mental health for 11 years and have worked with people of all ages, families, couples, and individuals. I'm currently focusing on women's issues and anxiety disorders.

Table of Contents

Nowadays, millions of individuals worldwide are impacted in one way or another by depression, a complex mental health condition. To provide early intervention and effective therapy, depression symptoms and warning signs need to be identified. By going over the top 20 symptoms of depression in-depth, we will be able to see the range of ways that this illness can present itself.

Understanding Depression

Before delving into the signs and symptoms, it is imperative to understand the basics of depression. Long-term mood disorders like depression can have a big influence on day-to-day activities. It is more than just a depressing or gloomy feeling. The way one feels and how one thinks, as well as how one lives day to day, is affected by it.

Here are the top 20 Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

Persistent Sadness:

Depression is more than just a passing sadness; it is a chronic state of unhappiness that affects all parts of a person’s life. People live in a perpetual fog of doom, which affects their everyday interactions, perceptions, and thoughts. Even simple tasks may seem impossible due to their emotional burden.

Loss of Interest:

As a result of depression, one is often unable to enjoy the things that used to make them happy in the past. People experience a deep sensation of emptiness when their hobbies, social interactions, and everyday routines lose appeal. The general feeling of alienation from life’s pleasures is exacerbated by this fall in interest.

Changes in Sleep Patterns:

Sleep disturbances are one of the most typical signs of depression. Persistent exhaustion can result from insomnia, characterized by trouble sleeping or staying asleep. The therapeutic benefits of a restful night’s sleep, however, are not provided by hypersomnia, an excessive desire to sleep.

Fatigue and Lack of Energy:

One of the most prevalent signs of depression is chronic weariness. The psychological effects of the illness, in addition to once doable and even easy chores, leave one feeling worn out and low on energy. Even routine, everyday tasks might turn into enormous obstacles.

Changes in Appetite or Weight:

Normal eating behaviors are frequently disturbed by depression, which can result in notable appetite and weight fluctuations. A decreased appetite can lead to weight loss and nutritional deficits in certain individuals. On the other hand, some people might use food as a consolation, which could result in weight gain and other health issues.

Difficulty Concentrating:

One of the hallmarks of depression is cognitive impairment. People struggle to focus, to make choices, or to remember information. Cognitive tasks become difficult and annoying due to the pervasive depressive fog.

Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt:

Pervasive feelings of worthlessness and inappropriate guilt characterize depression. People can have an extremely unfavorable and skewed perception of themselves, plagued by guilt even when there is no reason for them to feel that way.


The symptom of persistent irritability is a prevalent symptom of depression that sometimes goes ignored in the absence of explanations. Minor stressors may cause people to respond abnormally, and a general feeling of unhappiness exacerbates damaged relationships. People become even more alone as a result of this increased anger while they struggle with their emotional upheaval.

Physical Aches and Pains:

Depression frequently presents with physical symptoms in addition to psychological difficulties. A person suffering from depression may experience unexplained aches, pains, and digestive problems that add to the overall misery they experience.

Isolation and Withdrawal:

One of the most popular coping strategies used by depressed people is social disengagement. Isolation brought on by feelings of inadequacy and a wish to save others trouble can exacerbate the emotional challenges linked to depression.

Suicidal Thoughts:

In extreme circumstances, depressed people may have intrusive, recurring thoughts of taking their own lives. It is important to address this serious symptom as soon as possible immediately. It highlights the severity of the emotional suffering and the pressing need for expert assistance and support.


It is common for depression to manifest as agitation, characterized by restlessness and difficulties remaining still. This internal conflict makes an already difficult emotional terrain even more uncomfortable. There is no doubt that anxiety can exacerbate painful feelings, as well as create a constant sense of unease.

Changes in Libido:

One’s ability and desire for sex can be profoundly affected by depression. Libido fluctuations, whether positive or negative, can put stress on close relationships. Aside from the emotional difficulties associated with depression, this symptom hurts both interpersonal and personal relationships.

Feelings of Numbness:

Depression can cause some individuals to feel emotionally numb, as though they are no longer able to handle the full spectrum of emotions. This kind of numbness goes beyond normal emotional ups and downs and can lead to a detachment from emotions and events.

Increased Substance Use:

Depression sufferers may abuse alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism for their emotional suffering. By making mental health issues more complex, increased substance use may exacerbate substance use disorders. As a result, it turns into a dual battle that addresses substance abuse and the underlying depression.

Decreased Productivity:

A person’s ability to function well at work or in school is significantly impacted negatively by depression. Decreased productivity, difficulty focusing on tasks, and a general feeling of exhaustion are all signs of impairment in general functioning. Due to this, it could become challenging to complete tasks in the academic and professional spheres.

Psychomotor Retardation or Agitation:

One can observe physical changes as a symptom of depression. There are two manifestations of internal turmoil: psychomotor agitation with restlessness and psychomotor retardation, characterized by slower speech and movements. These physical indicators offer more hints about the mental anguish that is there.

Difficulty Establishing Boundaries:

Depression may make it more difficult for a person to set healthy boundaries and assert themselves. Having to set limits can be difficult, which can cause problems in personal and work relationships. Interpersonal conflicts may arise from people feeling overloaded by other people’s expectations.

Excessive Guilt about the Past:

Depression frequently involves thinking back on past transgressions and experiencing an intense sense of shame for alleged wrongdoings. People could get caught up in a vicious cycle of self-blame when they relive incidents and choices through an extremely critical prism. This overwhelming guilt exacerbates the total emotional load.

Loss of Hope:

A pervasive sense of pessimism about the future typifies depression. People could find it difficult to see better things happening to them, and the lack of hope exacerbates the emotional pain that comes with the illness. This denial of hope can lead to a deep sense of hopelessness, making it more difficult for the person to find a path out of their emotional suffering.

The intricacy of depression and all of its symptoms must be acknowledged to provide appropriate intervention, understanding, and support. Suppose we fight to remove the stigma attached to mental health illnesses. In that case, our community might become more understanding and prioritize the well-being of people navigating the difficult journey of depression. Seeking treatment is a brave and essential first step toward recovery if you or someone you love is experiencing depression.