10 Major Warning Signs of Depression

Depression is one of the most frequent medical diagnoses. It's a mood disorder that paralyses your life and closes the doors to your happiness. Why is it so common nowadays and what are the symptoms?
10 Major Warning Signs of Depression
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

There are many things that can lead to depression, and it’s also a very personal illness. Remember that no depression is the same and that not everyone processes emotions or problems in the same way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to spot the warning signs of depression.

There are all kinds of different approaches: confrontation therapy, pharmacological help, social support, and above all, a clear personal desire to get through this “tunnel”. Today, we’re going to focus on how to spot depression, so that you can deal with it more effectively.

The warning signs of depression

depressed woman looking at a flower

Health professionals remind us that d epression is never easy to diagnose. It’s easy to confuse it with other diseases. General practitioners don’t usually have the time to diagnose it, and they often focus more on headaches or insomnia than on the underlying reality: depression.

That’s why it’s so important to learn the warning signs of depression, so you know what’s going on. Lack of interest, sadness, or frustration often occurs with psychosomatic disorders, side effects of an emotional problem that hasn’t been handled effectively.

Keep the following warning signs in mind: if you identify with even 4 of them, you may already be experiencing depression.

1. Insomnia

We are not talking about temporary insomnia. With depression, it’s the chronic kind that keeps you from regaining strength and forces you to wake up tired, with no motivation.

It’s common to resort to sleeping pills, but you might still wake up and find it difficult to get sleep because something is bothering you.

2. Intense morning fatigue

People with depression tend to mention something similar: mornings are the worst part of their day. Opening their eyes and having to face a new day is extremely tasking. When you have depression, you  lack motivation, feel slow, and don’t have the strength to get out of bed.

3. Appetite changes

Have you noticed that you’re eating out of anxiety? Have you completely lost the desire to eat? Some people start to gain weight without knowing why, and some people fall into dangerous periods of anorexia.Oftentimes, depression is hiding behind these things.

Read more: How to Naturally Treat Depression

4. Obsessive thoughts

woman having obsessive thoughts

There are some things you just can’t get out of your head. There are questions, images, and memories that you can’t forget. These are often obsessive thoughts that fill you up with anxiety and are beyond your control. This kind of thing causes a lot of mental stress and suffering.

5. Negative thoughts and blame

Along with obsessive thoughts, it’s common to fall into a very negative mindset. You see everything from a darker point of view and lose the motivation to wake up in the morning.

You’re tormented by feelings of blame. It even becomes hard to accept help from other people and you prefer being alone.

6. It’s hard to concentrate

You’ll be absent, disoriented. You’ll forget a lot of things and have a hard time focusing on anything specific. Plus, you’ll feel tired and get overwhelmed when other people point out your absent-mindedness or mistakes.

7. Making decisions is hard

woman experiencing mental fatigue as one of the warning signs of depression

You know that you should ask for help, or recognize that it would be better to face what’s going on with you. But you just don’t feel like you can. The physical and mental fatigue is so intense that you can’t handle it alone. You feel fragile, wounded, unable to make firm decisions.

8. Light bothers you

People with depression prefer to be in a room with the curtains closed, where the light isn’t as strong. You prefer being alone and withdrawing from people.

9. Physical pain

person with depression in physical pain

Migraines, muscle problems, digestion issues, tachycardia, chronic fatigue… All of these psychosomatic symptoms are warning signs of depression.

You might be interested in: Natural Ways to Treat Migraines

10. Lack of social interest

You prefer being alone to spending time with friends or family members. You even lose the desire to be with your significant other and find it hard to take other people’s advice. Or you feel like they can’t understand you, that nobody understands how you’re feeling.

How to handle depression

You have to be firm: be brave when dealing with depression, muster up all the strength inside you, and accept all the help that people sincerely offer you. Remember:

  • Think about how you have the right to be happy again, how you should find goals for the present and future. The past is the past and doesn’t exist anymore. What’s important is the “here and now” and your own happiness.
  • Depression is something you overcome little by little, with small, everyday accomplishments. Today you’ll go out on a walk. Tomorrow you’ll make a small change: a new haircut, a new dress. The next day you’ll make a bigger change, like signing up for a class or setting a goal. You’ll feel better every day if you take some steps towards raising your self-esteem.
  • Never forget: we all have a right to fall, but we also have a duty to get back up.

Most importantly, depression is serious and you should talk to your doctor if you are feeling this way. Asking for help is always the first step.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.