Identifying Depression: Symptoms & Clue’s To Look For

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1 in 16 young Australians are currently experiencing depression. We can all identify with feeling forlorn or moody from time to time; but imagine encountering those emotions on an intense level, for long periods of time. The roots of depression are often unknown to people; others can identify the source of what has upset them, but can’t seem to shed the lingering negative emotions that hang over them like a rain cloud. Depression is a serious condition that has a range of detrimental social, physical, mental and economic impacts. Being able to recognise certain characteristics or patterns of depression is vital, in providing yourself, or those around you, with the help and assistance required.


As expressed by many practitioners around the world; on a basic level depression can be described as feeling sad, down or miserable for majority of the time, for more than two weeks. Losing interest or pleasure in activities; or feeling unmotivated to perform daily tasks. Diagnosing depression is more complex than this though, as everyone may experience symptoms differently, and to varying extents. Similarly, people who aren’t depressed may sometimes have patches where these characteristics are very prominent in their lives.


I will provide some typical pointers in hope of potentially being able to identify whether someone, or yourself, may be suffering from depression. It is important to note that these are not a guideline for diagnosing depression; and are simply some common characteristics.

Behaviourally people experiencing depression may not want to go out anymore, struggling to concentrate and complete tasks at school or work. They may withdraw from family and friends, or gradually stop taking part in enjoyable hobbies or activities. Some may be reliant on sedatives or alcohol.


Common feelings include irritability, guilt, frustration, disappointment and sadness. Often patients being treated for depression express that they feel overwhelmed by mundane tasks or lack confidence to perform daily activities. Physically people suffering from depression may feel tired most of the time, experiencing frequent headaches or muscle pains. However, some may encounter sleeping problems or notice significant weight loss or gain. Commonly, people highlight how they felt a constant churning of their stomach, despite having a loss or change of appetite.


There are many ways in which depression can be treated and if from reading the above article you are unsure of your mental health status, I would strongly recommend contacting someone for further advice. Having a chat to a close friend or calling up a professional, there are always people willing to help.


Anje Delport


Melbourne University

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