Learn about depression, its symptoms and possible causes, and how you can access treatment and support. Find tips on caring for yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
What are the symptoms of depression?
There are many signs and symptoms of depression, and everyone's experience will vary. This page covers:
I had constant low mood, hopelessness, frustration with myself, feeling like I could cry at any moment.
How you might feel
- Down, upset or tearful
- Restless, agitated or irritable
- Guilty, worthless and down on yourself
- Empty and numb
- Isolated and unable to relate to other people
- Finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
- Angry or frustrated over minor things
- A sense of unreality
- No self-confidence or self-esteem
- Hopeless and despairing
- Feeling tired all the time
How you might act
- Avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
- Self-harming or suicidal behaviour
- Difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
- Losing interest in sex
- Difficulty remembering or concentrating on things
- Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
- Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
- No appetite and losing weight, or eating more than usual and gaining weight
- Physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
- Moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated
It felt like I was really tired, all the time. I had no energy or emotion about anything.
It's very common to experience depression and anxiety together. Some symptoms of depression can also be symptoms of anxiety, for example:
- Feeling restless
- Finding it difficult to concentrate
- Struggling to sleep
See our pages on anxiety for more information.
I flit between states of anxiety and depression. At times, each seems to fuel the other.
If you're feeling low, you might self-harm to cope with difficult feelings. Although this might make you feel better in the short term, self-harm can be very dangerous.
When you're feeling really low and hopeless, you may also find yourself thinking about suicide. This could be thinking about the idea of suicide, or considering a plan to end your life. These thoughts can feel difficult to control, and can be very frightening.
If you experience psychotic symptoms as part of depression, they're likely to be linked to your depressed thoughts and feelings. This may include experiencing delusions relating to feelings of guilt. For example, you might become convinced that you've committed a crime.
These kinds of experiences can feel very real at the time. This might make it hard to understand that these experiences are also symptoms of your depression. And they can be frightening or upsetting, so it's important to seek treatment and support.
You might worry that experiencing psychotic symptoms could mean you’re given a diagnosis that doesn’t feel right for you. But discussing all of your symptoms with your doctor can help you get the right support and treatment.
See our pages on psychosis for more information.
If you have depression, you might find that it interferes with different aspects of your life. For example, it might affect your ability to work, your relationships, or managing your finances. This can add extra stress to an already difficult experience.
It may also feel hard to explain your thoughts and feelings to others. You might want to cut yourself off from other people instead. This could lead to you feeling isolated and lonely.
If depression is having an impact on your daily life, help is available. See our pages on treatment and support for more information. Our pages on getting support at work and organising your finances may also help.
It feels like I'm stuck under a huge grey-black cloud. It's dark and isolating, smothering me at every opportunity.
Symptoms of depression can also be part of other mental health problems, such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD) and other personality disorders
- Schizoaffective disorder
If you experience low mood or suicidal thoughts, this might be the reason you first speak to your doctor about your mental health. And your doctor might offer you treatment for depression without realising that you also experience other symptoms.
If you think you're experiencing other symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about this to make sure you're getting the right treatment.
This information was published in April 2023. We will revise it in 2026.
References and bibliography available on request.
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