Depression is much more than just feeling blue. Everyone experiences sadness but when that low lasts longer than a few days, you may be clinically depressed. Depression is a very serious condition and can affect people around you. It can also change the way you behave, look and perform. Plus it can affect your ability to engage in social activities or handle general everyday matters.

18 Signs That Someone Is Depressed


Loss of interest in things that used to be pleasurable

This is one of the most major signs in how to tell if someone is depressed: they no longer get pleasure from things that once brought them it. Other things to look out for is declining invitations, not seeing family or friends or refusing to go out.


Fatigue and decreased energy

People who are depressed that don’t often display agitation usually experience the opposite if those kinds of behaviours. In some cases, they could be more sluggish and slow with things. How to tell if someone is depressed in this case is by observing whether they complain about not having any energy or moving slowly.


Changes in appetite

With depression, sufferers tend to fall into either one of the two extremes and they either lose interest in eating or get into a habit of eating constantly. Some signs to look out for are: mindless eating, throwing up after meals, picking at food and not really eating it or losing interest in former favourite foods. Depression can be caused by eating disorders and people with eating disorders can develop depression too.


They are indulging in more stimulants

If they start indulging in more stimulants such as: caffeine, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs it could be a form of escapism, basically them trying to get away from their unhappiness which is an important sign when considering how to tell if someone is depressed.


Not doing well at work

A person’s motivation may decrease drastically and they may not be as productive as before.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions

It can be extremely difficult for a person with depression to focus and they may even have trouble with basic things such as: remembering appointments and names, finding objects that they have misplaced and avoiding making plans.


Persistent, sad, anxious or “empty” feelings

This symptom of depression may seem like a bad mood at first but it usually lasts even after a problem has passed or has been rectified. Most often, depressed people are not even aware that they are in a bad mood. You can be helpful by asking them when they were last happy.


Feeling worthless and helpless

A person suffering from depression can’t help but feel as if everything is going wrong and that they are the reason everything is going wrong – rather than the illness or situation being the reason. Sometimes these feelings can be extreme and is a big sign of depression.


Feeling tearful

There may not be a particular trigger for a depressed person crying and sometimes they may burst into tears ‘for no reason’ or ‘out of nowhere’. Crying frequently is not normal, however the person may not be aware of this.



Depression in men tends to manifest itself through irritability as opposed to seeming upset or down. Due to negative thoughts being a common occurrence in depression, men often act out seeming irritated because of the negative thoughts they are constantly having.


Withdrawal from social interaction

Withdrawal from a loved one may mean that they have a lot to deal with. Check to see how they are feeling and see if there’s any way you can help them.


Having difficulties in home and family life

A depressed person may have frequent arguments with family members or isolate themselves from everyone in the home.


Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual

This can manifest itself in different ways; it could be having issues falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night or even in the early hours of the morning. If you’re worried that your partner may have depression, another sign could be them spending a lot of time in another room. Try not to take this personally, instead, recognize the problem for what it actually is.


Suicidal thoughts

Research shows that men are less likely to commit suicide than women. However, men are more likely to die if they do try to commit suicide. They usually use firearms to kill themselves too. Older men are more at risk of suicide and doctors sometimes miss the signs of them being suicidal. A high percentage of older men commit suicide within a month of being seen by their physician.


Sexual dysfunction

People with depression can experience a loss of desire for sex and also erectile dysfunction. It is also a symptom that men tend to get embarrassed about when telling their doctor about it. Problems with performance can make depression worse for some people. It is also relevant to know that having erectile dysfunction doesn’t always stem from depression and can be signs of other underlying conditions.


For women: changes to menstrual cycle

Women with severe depression can suffer from a condition called ‘premenstrual dysphoric disorder’ (PMDD). Some symptoms of this are tension and irritability before a period, however, they cease when she is on her period or afterwards.


For women: postpartum

Plenty of new mothers experience a type of sadness called “baby blues” but that usually subsides within one to two weeks after they give birth. If the sadness continues then it may be postpartum depression.


For young children and teenagers

Depression in children could manifest by them not wanting to go to school, becoming clingy with their parents or feeling ill all the time. Teenagers may be moody, defiant or sulky.

Tips to Help Others Control Depression

1. If you are worried about someone being depressed, encourage them to see a doctor.

2. Offer a listening ear to them and get them to talk.

3. Make sure you tell them that you care or are concerned about them.

4. Let them know that depression can happen to anyone and that it’s not their fault.

5. Tell them ways they can help themselves recover: by doing exercise, participating in activities they find fun and eating healthy.

6. Inform them that your help and support are always available for them.

7. Keep in touch with the. You can do this by visiting them, phoning or sending cards.


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