Depression Symptoms & Signs

February 19, 2019

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly 3 million Australians live with depression or anxiety. And many might not be aware that they have this mental condition and are yet to be diagnosed by a mental health provider. Recognising depression symptoms is a huge step towards helping someone who has it. Seeking help and treatment immediately can address the condition at the onset.

Depression is a common mental illness that affects a lot of people regardless of age, gender, race, and social status. It is characterised by extreme feelings of hopelessness, sadness, or emptiness that do not go away over time, and loss of interest over things they once enjoyed. These feelings can interfere with relationships, work, or life in general.

Depression looks different for different people –someone may appear productive in daily life, while others may appear isolated and dysfunctional. Either way, it should not be ignored and people who know someone depressed must be observant, supportive, and must keep an open mind.

Psychological Symptoms of Depression

  • Low mood or sadness
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Feeling worthlessness and extreme guilt
  • Irritable and intolerant of others
  • Lack of motivation or interest
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Anxious or worried often
  • Doing self-harm or having suicidal thoughts

Physical Symptoms of Depression

Sleeping problems. People with depression often lie awake at night and unable to sleep, but some people might also sleep for longer periods of time and find it hard to get out of bed.

Lack of energy. Having poor quality of sleep and the body constantly fighting to stabilise moods could drain one’s energy, making someone lethargic and demotivated to do any activity.

Headaches. People with depression report having worse headaches in the morning than at night. This is likely tension headaches, or when the muscles in the neck and scalp become more contract.

Psychomotor disturbances. Someone depressed may have purposeless motions or psychomotor agitations (hand-wringing, pacing, and fidgeting), and psychomotor retardation, or having slow body movements, thinking, and speech.

Constipation. Living an unhealthy lifestyle can be a picture of depression, and the lack of physical activity and poor food choices can likely lead to constipation.

Change of weight or appetite. Some people overeat when depressed as a coping mechanism, while some may not eat food as disregard for physical well-being.

Poor hygiene. A depressive episode may include disregarding one’s self-care routine, such as not getting out of bed, not taking a bath, not changing clothes, among many others.

Unexplained aches and pains. Experts found that the link between pain and depression is a shared neurological pathway. People with depression may experience back, joint, and limb pains that could also be symptoms of a bigger health problem.

Low sex drive. Depression causes someone to lose interest over things once enjoyed, including having sex.

Changes in menstrual cycle. When a woman is depressed, her cortisol levels may rise in response to stress causing her ovaries to delay ovulation or not ovulate at all.

Drinking more alcohol. Alcohol and depression go both ways for some people –some abuse alcohol to mask depression, while heavy alcohol users can trigger a depressive episode, often referred to as substance-induced depression.

Need to see a professional about your depression symptoms? Ubuntu Medical can help you! Call us on (07) 3857 3777.


At Ubuntu Medical, we also help with Anxiety.