2 Exploring depression
Common signs and symptoms associated with depression are indicated in Box 3. Sadness is only one aspect of depression, and some people may not necessarily feel ‘sad’. There are other, including physical, symptoms which if lasting for more than two weeks should trigger a person to seek professional support.
Box 3 Common signs and symptoms associated with depression
Persistent sad, anxious or ‘empty’ mood.
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness.
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities.
Reduced energy, fatigue or feeling ‘slowed down’.
Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening or oversleeping.
Changes in appetite and/or weight.
Thoughts of death, suicide, self-harm or suicide attempts.
Persistent physical symptoms (aches and pains).
Note: A ‘sign’ is objective evidence of, and a ‘symptom’ any subjective evidence of, an illness. Symptoms are experienced by the affected individual, whereas a sign is a phenomenon that can be detected by someone other than the affected individual.