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Symptoms of Clinical Depression - Signs of Depression

Updated on August 30, 2013

Signs of Depression

We all know what depression is. Everyone has experienced a bout of depression at some point in life. It’s natural to be depressed for a while after the death of a loved one, a divorce, a job loss, or some other emotional trauma. When you're first dealing with such emotional pain, it might seem as if your life will never get any better. Normally, however, after the initial blow, the depression gradually begins to wane, and the affected person begins to once again take an interest in things he once enjoyed, along with life in general.

What is clinical depression?

Clinical depression is different. It’s a serious condition that affects almost 18 million people every year in the U.S. alone. Clinical depression can last for weeks, months, or even years. In most cases, the exact cause is unknown. Clinical depression isn't caused by some external event, in most cases. Usually, clinical depression is more of an internal condition. Doctors and other health care professionals, however, believe that clinical depression might be caused by an imbalance in the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Genetic factors may also play a role.

Signs of depression

What are the symptoms and signs of depression? Clinical depression symptoms might include any of the following:

Disinterest: One of the main symptoms of clinical depression is a loss of interest. You have little interest in activities that you once found enjoyable. You find yourself turning down offers and invitations to partake in activities. Even your favorite hobbies and pastimes hold little interest for you.

Sadness: Another of the clinical depression symptoms or signs of depression is sadness. You have an almost constant feeling of sadness, sometimes at an overwhelming level. You might have periods of crying. Usually, a "good cry" makes most people feel better, but with clinical depression, there's usually no relief after crying.

Isolation: Another symptom of clinical depressions is isolation. You avoid contact with friends – even close friends. You might even isolate yourself from family members. You prefer being alone much of the time. You don’t want to leave your home or interact with others. You could even be afraid to go out in public. Such clinical depression symptoms could lead to agoraphobia.

Lack of energy: People suffering from clinical depression or severe depression have little energy, even when trying to accomplish simple tasks. You feel tired all the time – both physically and mentally. Sometimes you have to force yourself to get out of bed in the mornings. Taking a shower and brushing or combing your hair might take a Herculean effort on your part. Even small, everyday tasks seem overwhelming, and personal responsibilities might be put off or ignored completely.

Mental confusion: Another symptom of clinical depression or severe depression is confusion. You may find it difficult to think and to concentrate. You might have an especially hard time making decisions. It might be hard for you to recall information or to remember to do everyday tasks.

Excessive sleep: You may find yourself sleeping for longer-than-normal periods on a regular basis if you're suffering from clinical depression. It may seem that you just can’t get enough sleep. And even when you do sleep for eight or nine hours, you still feel tired when you wake up. These clinical depression symptoms serve as a way to avoid reality.

Insomnia: Frequent insomnia is yet another symptom of depression. You might find it difficult to fall asleep. Or you might fall asleep normally but have difficulty remaining asleep for more than a couple of hours. Strangely, these clinical depression symptoms are related to excessive sleep.

Personal appearance: You may no longer care about your personal appearance. Some depressed individuals might go days without brushing or combing their hair, for example, because it just seems like too much of an effort. You might feel like you're not worthy of attractive clothing or of getting your hair done. Hopefully, these signs of depression will be noticed by family and friends.

Loss of appetite: You may seldom feel hungry. Perhaps even your favorite foods do not seem appealing any longer. when you do eat, foods might seem to have little taste.

Overeating: You may find yourself eating more than usual, subconsciously trying to make yourself feel better through food.

Feelings of guilt: You might have almost constant feelings of guilt for no apparent reason. If you're depressed, you might blame yourself for almost everything that goes wrong in the lives of your friends and family members.

Headaches: Signs of depression can take physical forms. Headaches are another symptom of severe depression.You could be plagued by frequent or persistent headaches, or headaches that don’t respond to normal treatment methods.

Pain: Depression can elicit vague or mysterious body aches and pains for which there is no apparent cause.

Digestive problems: You might experience frequent upset stomach or stomachaches. Clinical depression symptoms could also include bouts of constipation and diarrhea.

Emptiness: You may feel empty inside, or lost and unable to “find your way.”

Self esteem: Depression can make you feel worthless. You might feel as if you’re “not good enough.” Clinical depression and chronic depression can undermine your self esteem in a dramatic way.

Irritability: You may feel unusually irritable. Perhaps you anger easily or for no real reason, even with loved ones. Your patience can be severely limited by chronic depression.

Nervousness: You may feel worried or anxious for no reason with clinical depression. These feelings could be extreme and could manifest into crippling panic attacks or anxiety attacks. These anxiety attacks or panic attacks are among the worst symptoms of depression.

Suicide: You could have thoughts about suicide. At times, you may feel that death is your only way out.

Depression treatment

If you’re suffering from clinical depression, you could experience any of these symptoms or a combination of clinical depression symptoms. You might even have other symptoms – depression affects each person differently. Don’t suffer needlessly. Get help with depression treatment, and begin to put your life back together.

There are several treatment options available for depression. You and your health care provider can decide which depression treatment is best for your unique case.

To read more about depression and anxiety, click on the article links below.


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    • Sheila Ann Myers profile image

      Sheila A Myers 

      4 months ago from Elmira

      Oh my gosh this is also true. I have bipolar depression and it is really bad right now. I am on the medication "Latuda" but it isn't working. It started to work at first but is suddenly stopped working a few weeks ago and I've been having bouts a very serious depression and anxiety where I even have suicidal thoughts and everything... my psychologist cannot get me in until next Tuesday, so I'm trying to hang in there. This kind of intense depression scares the crap out of me, I've been here before and it ain't no fun to say the least... Thank you for spreading awarness about this terrible disorder... some people just don't get it. They will ask, "What are you depressed about?" And I have to explain to them that it's a chemical imbalance in my brain, not situational. Anyway, thank you! I'm following you now

    • Jithuthomas1998 profile image


      15 months ago

      Great fabulous awesome article thanks for giving this article

    • writing online profile image

      Ahmad Fauzi 

      6 years ago from Jakarta

      Since I have got married and have two daughters , I never feel deep depression even though my life now has more responsibilities

    • ginjill ashberry profile image

      Ashley TKL 

      7 years ago


      Thank you. I have all of the symptoms you've written about.

      Infact it has become so much a part of me that I got used to it. The worst phase of avoiding people I had experienced was years ago when I lock myself for 11days in my apartment and refuse to receive calls or answer the door. All I did was lying down hoping the earth would swallow me. I just wanted to disappear. My thoughts were of dying the whole time. There is an ache that I describe as an ice cold sensation around my heart and a hollow emptiness in my abdomen that I would lie in fetal position and pressing my knuckles into it. The only solace I find was in reading Psalm. That's just part of it and one of those many, many times.

      I still battle this but things started into a new direction when I started to attend church. I believe that this is also one channel of help for those with depression. Thank you again.

    • DAWNEMARS profile image


      7 years ago from The Edge of a Forest in Europe

      Great hub. Voted up!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the article, I have struggled with depression for a number of years now and especially now I have had to deal with relapse and try to teach myself again all of the skills that I have been taught. I appreciate the refresher course on the symptoms as a reminder of what to watch.

    • nationwidesi profile image


      8 years ago from 307 Tequesta Dr # 102, Tequesta, FL 33469, United States

      read my articles about "Testosterone Hormone"

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Monaz, thanks for reading, and best of luck!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Dave, I'm so glad you found help!

    • dkanofsky profile image


      8 years ago from Bethalto, Illinois

      I've experienced all but 2 symptoms. I've had depression since I was 5 and was diagnosed with clinical depression 25 years ago. Thanks to years of therapy, coping skills, and medication, I've been symptom free since the beginning of 2007.

      Thank you for sharing this information.

      Kindest regards,


    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      I think you never really understand it until you experience it.

    • Ladytron profile image


      9 years ago

      You pretty much nailed it, now if only people would really understand it. :/

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      You too, Wolf!

    • wolfpack5 profile image


      9 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Great hub habee, your information is right on. And I thank you for this great hub. To help some people understand this disease. :)

      have a great day my friend....

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for visiting, Vocal!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      9 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Very informative article. Thanks so much! Thumbs up.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Nikki!

    • nikki1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Great article :D

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      I agree, jitu! Wanna write one??

    • jitu66 profile image


      9 years ago from New Delhi

      Great hub. No we need a hub on Tips to treat depression naturally.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      That's what I figured, Zebra. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      That's kinda what I figured, Zebra! Thanks for reading!

    • profile image


      9 years ago from Southeast Michigan/Metro Detroit

      Short and sweet. Most people trying to figure out if they have any sort of mental disorder want the meat right away, not the history. It's easier, and especially with depression, it's less tiring. I would know!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, HW! Glad you stopped by.

    • healthwriter profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      very informative article

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      You're welcome, Cloudy. Thanks for reading!

    • cloudy days profile image

      cloudy days 

      10 years ago

      Another excellent hub. Thanks for the information!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for visiting, King!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      I think that's why it's such a confusing illness for everyone involved. Thanks for reading!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great article. Thanks for explaning each of the symptoms, it helped to clear up a few things for me.

      Its interesting how some of the symptoms are complete opposites of each other. Some may have trouble sleep while others may sleep excessively. Some may overeat, while some lose their appetite.


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