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Symptoms of depression

All of us experience sadness and emotional distress, when we are faced with difficult situations or grief. Often, with some support from our loved ones, we’re able to overcome these feelings in due time.

Sometimes, though, we may find that these feelings persist for a longer period—they begin to significantly interfere with our daily life. The feelings may disappear for some time but come back and disrupt our lives again.

In a situation like this, if such feelings have been persisting for over two weeks, it is likely that we are suffering from depression.

Depression is a mood disorder that can impact our thoughts, feelings, behavior and daily functioning. In severe cases, we may even experience thoughts of suicide.

Examples of symptom


  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Short temper
  • Uncontrollable crying


  • Not eating enough
  • Overeating

Physical Health

  • Joint Pain
  • Low sex drive
  • Unexplainable aches and pains
  • Upset stomach


  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Nightmares
  • Oversleeping

Energy Levels & interest

  • Tiredness
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Short temper
  • Avoiding social events


  • Frequent absence from work or college
  • Lack of motivation
  • Reduced focus
  • Trouble making decisions
  • Delaying of work

Thoughts & Feelings

  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Low self-confidence
  • Low self-esteem
  • Worthlessness

It is important to remember that even though depression is a very distressing experience, not everyone may appear to be depressed. A person can appear happy and content, but still be suffering from emotional turmoil.

We should be careful to not make any judgements on how someone behaves when in a state of distress or depression. Our experiences and contexts are different from each other, and these differences may show up in how we behave too.

Causes of depression

Difficult situations

Depression can occur as a reaction to a difficult situation, that feels overwhelming. This could be grief due to life events, like the loss of a loved one, a break-up, the loss of a job.

It could also occur due to persistent problems at work/school/college, conflict in our relationships with friends or family, or from stress caused by being in a dire financial situation.

Mental illness

Depression can coexist, alongside other mental illnesses—like a personality disorder, schizophrenia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In such cases, the depression may continue to affect us as long as the underlying illness that is causing depression remains untreated.

Physical health and illness

Low levels of certain vitamins and minerals can cause depression. Suffering from a serious physical illness can impact our health and lead to depression, too.

Genetic factors

While depression cannot be inherited, having a history of mental illness in the family can increase one’s susceptibility to it, when faced with situations mentioned above.