How to Know if You're Depressed

Written by Aislinn Pluta

Is it a sad mood, or something more serious? It can be hard to tell. Depression can sneak up on people, and despite it being very common, it’s important to take it seriously.

Take a quick quiz to get insights on your depressive symptoms here.

What is Depression?

Depression is a very common mental health issue. In fact, about 35% of people face depression at some point in their livesi.

Everyone feels sad sometimes, but unlike a sad mood, depression may not go away on its own. In fact, many people with depression eventually start to wonder if they’ll ever have the energy to feel better.

Depression tends to come in bouts, or “episodes,” which means that the odds of depression coming back can be high if steps aren’t taken to prevent it. Episodes can vary in length, from a few weeks to years.

What are common symptoms of depression?

The most common symptoms of depression are listed below. Not everyone with depression has all these symptoms, or has them to the same degree.

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in the things you used to like
  • Difficulty enjoying things you used to get pleasure from
  • Changes in weight
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Anger or irritability
  • Moving really fast or really slow
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Frequent thoughts of death or of hurting yourself

Crisis and suicide warning signs are particularly important to watch out for, as depression can be life-threatening.

Many people who feel depressed also feel anxious. There’s a lot of overlap between symptoms of depression and those of anxiety. In fact, anxiety and depression occur together at least 50% of the timeii.

How do depression symptoms affect people?

The symptoms of depression aren’t just uncomfortable, they affect your life. They may get in the way of relationships, work, and meeting goals.

Depression’s impacts vary person to person. Sometimes, depression just lowers someone’s overall enjoyment of life.

In other cases, symptoms of depression are very intense and even daily activities are very difficult to complete.

What do I do if I think I have depression?

Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional if you think you may have depression.

Your doctor or a mental health professional can help you start a treatment plan, which could consist of therapy, medication, or a combination of the two, depending on your needs and desires.

Not sure who to talk to? This comprehensive guide can help you find a therapist.

Some people find it helpful to take an online depression self-assessment to get a better idea of their symptoms, though talking to a doctor or mental health professional is the best way to learn if you have depression, and the only way to get a diagnosis and treatment plan.

If you do have depression, UpLift can be a supplement to professional care. It’s a complete course based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, one of the most helpful therapies for depression. In a trial of UpLift, users reduced their depression by 50% in one monthiii.

If you're having suicidal thoughts, or who need help right away, please reach out to someone. You don’t have to feel alone. In the US: Those outside of the US:
  • Visit Befrienders Worldwide for hotlines and other resources available throughout the world.
  • Use your local emergency services.
  • i:
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  • iii: Liu, E., & Pluta, A., & Dobson, K. (2018, November). Pilot Study on UpLift---A Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Mobile App for Depression. Poster session presented at the 52nd Annual Convention for the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT), Washington, D.C.

About the Author
Aislinn is UpLift's Content Director. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master's in Applied Positive Psychology, the scientific study of the factors that lead to a full and meaningful life.