Depression: What Does It Look Like

October 10, 2022 | Sharon Uthappa
Tags: Health & Wellness

Author - Sharon Uthappa 

Image Credits - Pexels. com 


Depression is a common and serious mood disorder that affects many people worldwide. World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020 stated that “depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and also a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease”.  Depression is a mood disorder that includes persistent feelings of sadness, and a lack of interest that negatively impacts a person’s day-to-day functions such as work (or school), family, and social life. Depression is known to be the leading cause of suicide across the world.

Depression affects the way one thinks, acts, and feels. Depression results from an amalgamation of social, psychological, and biological factors. People who have gone through adverse life events such as unemployment, bereavement, and psychological trauma, are more likely to develop depression (WHO, 2020). It can also lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and decrease one’s ability to function properly at work and/ or at home. Depression can, in turn, lead to more stress and dysfunction; and worsen the affected person’s life situation and their depression too (WHO, 2020). Fortunately, depression can be treated.

What it can look like

Depending on the number of symptoms and severity, depression can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. Let us have a look at the different signs and symptoms of depression. The symptoms can be:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed such as sex, hobbies, or sports
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Changes in appetite such as reduced or increased appetite which can lead to unintentional weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Sleeping disorders such as insomnia, sleeping too much or having disturbed sleep
  • Tiredness, loss of energy, or increased fatigue; so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing, agitation, restlessness, and pacing up and down) or slowed thinking, slowed movements, or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others).
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideations, suicide attempts, or suicide

A symptom or a combination of these must persistently last for a minimum of two weeks for one to go to a doctor for a diagnosis. There are other health conditions such as cardiovascular problems, thyroid problems, or brain tumors that can mimic similar symptoms of depression. It is critical for one to get a proper diagnosis in order to rule out other health conditions (APA, 2020 & WHO, 2020). If you have been feeling these symptoms for more than two weeks, please schedule a doctor’s appointment for a diagnosis. This is a health condition, and there is nothing wrong in seeking help for it.


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