Signs and symptoms of depression

man with signs of depression

Depression is characterized by a set of symptoms and not by an isolated sign. These symptoms ans signs are listed in the DSM-IV (diagnostic and Stastitical Manual of mental Discorders) which is the basic medical work for diagnosing mental illnesses.

The signs of depression concern not only the mood but also the body and cognitive function. In order to establish the diagnosis of depression, it takes the presence of a certain number of these signs according to the type of depression. There are nine major symptoms in depression described by DSM-IV. Let’s not forget that only a medical diagnosis can affirm the presence of a depressive disorder in a person.

The 9 major symptoms ans signs of depression

Depressive mood

This is a feeling of sadness or emptiness present almost every day and all day. This sadness can be accompanied by crying or feeling of despair. The peculiarity is that this sadness is almost permanent and has no precise motive stated by the person.

Decrease in interest

This is a marked disinterest for almost all activities and as a result a lack of enjoyment for activities that were enjoyable for the person before the depressive episode. Thus, a person with a depressive syndrome will tell all the activities of his day on a monotonous and detached way of emotion.

Weight evolution

Eating disorders related to depression are characterized by significant weight loss in the absence of diet or on the contrary a significant weight gain. Weight loss comes from a lack of appetite in relation to the lack of general interest of the person. Excess appetite can be a way to fill the feeling of emptiness by swallowing large amounts of food.

Sleep disorder

Sleep disorders in depression are characterized by insomnia or Hypersomnia

In the case of insomnia, it is a difficulty to find sleep early in the night. Despite his severe fatigue, the depressive person has difficulty falling asleep as she tends to think of many things at this time. he can also wake up several times a night and for a relatively long time before returning to sleep. These cuts in sleep lessen the recuperative qualities of sleep.

Hypersomnia is characterized by a much higher than average sleep time. For the person with depressive disorders, sleep can then be a way to flee from suffering.

Evolution of psychomotor behavior

This sign is most often characterized by a psychomotor slowdown. People with depressive disorders have slow gestures, slow speech flow. This slowness can also achieve certain biological functions such as digestion.

In some cases, the evolution of psychomotor behavior is more characterized by agitation.


The person with depressive disorders feels tired almost permanently. She feels a lack of energy that puts her in trouble to get into business. Fatigue is also due in part to the sleep disturbances she encounters.

Feeling of devaluation

In a depressive episode, the person feels an excessive feeling of devaluation of his person and/or possibly an important sense of guilt that is most often outside of all reality.

Cognitive impairment

This is a cognitive dysfunction that decreases the reasoning ability. In parallel with this difficulty in thinking, there are difficulties of concentration and positioning which leads to an inability to make decisions.

Black ideas

These black ideas may concern the person with depressive disorder or other people. They concern, among other things, recurring ideas of death or suicide. The depressive person can also think of suicide in a concrete way with the imagination of a suicide scenario. The transition to the suicidal Act is one of the major risks of depression.

Read also: Depression is a vacuum and not a State of sadness