What Are the First Signs of Depression?
We all have ups and downs—going through tough times and experiencing sadness are inevitable parts of life. But while sadness is a temporary emotion, depression is a mental illness that’s characterized by an all-encompassing feeling of hopelessness. It can affect every aspect of life and cause you to lose interest in things you once enjoyed. And if depression is left untreated, symptoms can worsen and may even manifest as physical discomfort.
Depression comes in many forms. For example, there’s:
- Mild and moderate depression – The most common types
- Major depression – Characterized by intense, unrelenting symptoms
- Post-partum depression – Depression following childbirth
- Atypical depression – A subtype of major depression characterized by specific symptom patterns
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – Depression influenced by dark winter days
The Most Common Symptoms of Depression
The first signs of depression can vary significantly from person to person based on what type of depression is present, along with several other factors. Age and gender can sometimes influence depression symptoms—for instance, teenagers often express anger and irritability, men tend to lose interest in hobbies and grow agitated and women are more likely to experience weight gain, feelings of guilt and difficulty sleeping.
In general, however, the most common symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of bleakness and hopelessness
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Increased irritability
- Loss of interest in hobbies and daily activities
- Feelings of self-hate, worthlessness or guilt
- Lack of energy
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Physical aches and pains, such as stomach pain, aching muscles and headaches
- Engaging in reckless activities, such as frequent gambling and substance abuse
It’s possible for any of these symptoms to be present in the beginning stages of depression, although a general feeling of hopelessness is arguably the most common sign. If you or someone you know is experiencing potential symptoms of depression, reach out! There are countless resources available to help people overcome depression and achieve their best mental health.
Get Help Now
If you or a loved one is in distress and needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s free and completely confidential.
Otherwise, schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with a mental health professional such as a counselor, clinical social worker, psychiatrist or psychologist. There’s no need to be ashamed—depression is an incredibly widespread illness that affects people of all ages, races and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Behavioral Health at Tufts Medical Center Community Care
The behavioral health specialists at Tufts Medical Center Community Care possess an in-depth understanding of depression and its many complexities. Working collaboratively with primary care physicians, our team of psychiatrists, psychologists and counselors provide professional treatment for all types of depression in a safe and welcoming environment.
Chat with us today! Our mental health professionals in north suburban Boston are here to help you and support you on your journey to wellness. Tufts Medical Center Community Care is pleased to offer in-person visits as well as telemedicine appointments—contact us today to learn more.