Someone who is experiencing depression may show some of the following possible signs:

  • feeling sad, upset or tearful
  • loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy 
  • feeling angry and irritable and may overreact to what others say
  • feeling very tired and lacking energy or being restless (can’t sit still or stay in one place)
  • problems sleeping or sleeping too much
  • poor memory and difficulty concentrating or taking in information
  • wanting to spend less time with family and friends and not go out as much
  • thinking negatively and expecting bad things to happen
  • feeling very guilty and ‘down on’ themselves
  • questioning themselves more and loss of self-esteem
  • loss of appetite (weight loss) or over-eating (weight gain)
  • neglecting basic needs (like keeping themselves and their home clean and tidy)
  • drinking more alcohol, smoking or taking drugs to try to feel better
  • difficulty with managing money which may include spending more
  • some people feel ‘numb’ or empty and unable to express sadness

Depression can affect people to different degrees.

  • Mild depression: people experience less interest in doing routine tasks or things that they used to enjoy. Mild depression makes life much harder but does not stop people from continuing with their usual day-to-day life.
  • Moderate depression: people experience a real lack of interest and motivation – it can take a big effort to complete everyday things so that some tasks are not completed. Moderate depression can also affect self-confidence which makes it even harder to continue with day-to-day life. It can often affect basic needs such as sleep and appetite. People may experience thoughts that life is not worth living.
  • Severe depression: people can feel great upset, guilt and hopelessness, have much less energy and withdraw from the company of other people. This can impact on self-esteem and make it extremely difficult, or impossible, to continue with work and a normal social life. Thoughts of death or suicide are not unusual for people with severe depression and poor sleep and loss of appetite can lead to physical health problems.

Some people may feel low for weeks or months while other people may find they experience a period of depression from time to time.