Learn about the Physical Symptoms of Depression and the Emotional Signs


Let’s start with the good news: The physical symptoms of depression are actually very obvious. They are quite easy to recognize.

So far so good!

However there are also many subtle emotional depression signs that you may not see which may complicate things a bit for you.

The mission of this page is to help you navigate through the wild jungle of depression symptoms and help you get a step closer to doing something about your depression.

What You’ll Get on This Page about Physical Symptoms of Depression

Understanding depression is important, and this page will help you to answer the question, “What is depression, and what are the symptoms depression causes?”

On this page about physical symptoms of depression, you will also learn about the different types of depression, what a depression scale is, how to approach a depression self test to help you get insights into whether or not you may have clinical depression symptoms or not, and much more.

Don’t let depression get you down, but use the information on this page to help you beat it with or without medications.

What is Depression Really About? The Two Different Kinds of Depression

In a normal depression you can see light at the end of the tunnel: Woman walking towards the lightThe ‘Normal’ Type of Depression
Everyone has those periods in their life where they feel like everything is going wrong, nothing is working out the way they wanted it to, and life could not get any worse.

Such feelings are in some ways to be expected, as life really does throw you the occasional curveball. Such types of depression are thus situational and come the outside and ‘attack’ you for a limited period of time until things resolve themselves or you somehow work your way through them.

So in other words, periodic ‘downs’ are normal. We all feel them now and again AND more importantly, they don’t last for very long and we KNOW it. We KNOW there is light at the end of the tunnel.

With a clinical depression there is no feeling of light at the end of the tunnel: Dark tunnel entranceThe ‘Real’, Clinical Type of Depression

Clinical depression is very different. It doesn’t just go away!

Irrelevant of whether the depression stems from internal chemical imbalances or it is the end result of some external event that happened to you, the physical symptoms of depression and negative emotions cling to you, sort of like a parasite.

The emotions remain and the problem becomes chronic rather than rather than something that simply passes.

Thus a ‘normal’ depression may translate from a simple, natural emotional state of mind to an actual emotional disorder, and this is when you need to reach out and get help to get back to as normal a life as possible.

Understanding Depression In-Depth: Recognize This?

Old painting of man in melancholy - passive and depressiveDepression is not just the feeling of hopelessness or failure that accompanies being out of sorts, but it is actually a condition that rules your life. You get stuck in an emotional state. The pause button has been pressed down just when you find yourself in a very uncomfortable place.

All of your activities become overshadowed by the negative feelings that are commonly associated with depression (see the symptoms below). You probably have a hard time focusing on your work, sleeping, eating, and doing all the other activities that you normally do.

And what is more … You don’t really care that this is the way that things are!

When you are depressed, you might get stuck in a variety of feelings such as hopelessness, irritation, frustration, worthlessness and passivity – much more overwhelming than what a “bad day” or a “grumpy mood” could ever cause.

Often the emotional and physical symptoms of depression will prevent you from living a normal life.

The bad news:
Unfortunately most often clinical depression and emotional and physical symptoms of depression doesn’t just go away. You can’t just ‘ignore’ it away or wait it out.

The good news
This good thing in this is that it may prompt you to seek help. Or at least prompt those close to you to make sure that the right kinds of measurements are taken – whether that be therapy, medication or something else.

What Are The Emotional Symptoms Depression Causes?

There are many symptoms depression can cause, with some of the symptoms being more visible than the others. Often depression shows itself as a mix of both emotional depression signs and physical symptoms of depression.

If you recognize any of these emotional or physical symptoms of depression, it may be likely that you are feeling the beginnings of depression.

Thus it is essential that you take steps to correct the problem before it gets worse or even out of control:

Physical symptoms of depression: Picture of trees in the woods in winter with full moon in background

  • Hopeless Feelings – When you experience clinical depression symptoms, the typical overwhelming feelings are directed towards your self value in terms of feeling hopeless and useless.

    It’s like being in an everlasting dark tunnel: you cannot see any way out of it and feel that your situation is always going to be this bad, no matter how hard you try to improve it.

  • Loss of Interest – Those that are depressed usually feel like they have absolutely no interest in things that once attracted them, and that they can do nothing that will make them feel happy. None of their hobbies improve their mood, and nothing holds interest for them anymore.
  • Weight Changes – This one of the physical symptoms of depression is often signaled by a change in your appetite, and you may feel like you are no longer as hungry as you once were. This is usually followed by severe weight loss. Other people feel like they are hungrier or they need food to combat their depression, and this leads to drastic weight gain.
  • Self-Loathing – Depression often is accompanied by a feeling that you are an unpleasant, unattractive, or repulsive person. This self-loathing can often be accompanied by guilt, and you may find yourself criticizing your actions and mistakes much more harshly than you would if you were not depressed.
  • Increased Anger – Experts agree that underneath the depression there are often feelings deep anger, restlessness and agitation which in some cases may lead to violence.

    You may find that you have a very low threshold for annoyances, your temper is on a very short fuse, and that much of what happens to you irritates you.

  • Recklessness – Those that are depressed usually feel either like they need to do something to escape their life and their problems or they simply don’t care what happens to them. Unconsciously they feel that the further they push themselves, the higher the chances are that they get to feel something exciting outside of the depression. Something that can lift them up over the depression so to speak.

    So they start acting very recklessly. They may take up extreme sports, drink too much, take drugs, gamble compulsively, or do other things that are dangerous or reckless.

These symptoms of depression can be very serious, and they tend to accumulate over time. If you notice that you are or someone you know is experiencing even one or two of these symptoms, you need to seek help.

Now moving on to the more physical symptoms of depression.

Physical Symptoms of Depression: Some Clinical Depressions Symptoms

Most of the symptoms above are more emotional symptoms, but these are the more physical symptoms of depression that your doctor will be able to see and diagnose:

Head ache is one of the physical symptoms of depression: Man in pain

  • Causeless Pains – If you feel that you are aching or in pain from random parts of your body, it may be one of the physical symptoms of depression.

    Many people with depression end up complaining about back aches, head aches, stomach pains, aching or sore muscles, or other pains that don’t really have an explanation or cause.

  • Problems Focusing – Another one of the physical symptoms of depression is that it it can be hard to focus on anything that you are doing. The emotional turmoil in your mind usually distracts you from the things that you are trying to do, and you can’t concentrate on the things at hand.
  • Sleep Changes – When you are depressed, it is likely that some of the physical symptoms of depression are that you will suffer from changes in your sleep patterns. Many people suffering from depression find that they are tired and have to sleep during the day, but they spend all night awake with insomnia.
  • Low Energy – Many people feel like they have no energy or desire to do anything when they are depressed, and they spend all their time sleeping or trying to sleep. Your body may feel like it is completely exhausted or drained of strength, and it takes much longer for you to do simple tasks that you could once accomplish in record time.

Just because they are physical doesn’t make them any less serious, and you would do well to take care not to let these physical symptoms of depression go unheeded. Please see your doctor if you recognize those physical symptoms of depression.

A Quick List of 15 Different Types of Depression

You mean there’s more than one type of depression?

That’s right, there are many types of depression. Some of them are much more serious than others, with a potential for serious harm to be inflicted on oneself or on others.

It is important that you know what the types of depression are, as that can help you to know if you or someone you love is suffering from something more severe:

  • Dysthymic Disorder – This is also known as Dysthymia and is a milder form of depression, but it is a persistent disorder that may last for no less than 2 years.

    Unfortunately Dysthymia is much more resistant to treatments, but the symptoms are milder than some of the more severe depressions.

  • Major Depressive Disorder – This is one of the most severe forms of depression, as it is very serious and presents more symptoms than most other forms.

    The episodes usually last the majority of the day, and will usually repeat themselves on a daily basis for a fortnight. It usually presents all or most of the symptoms above, and it may often goes as far as suicidal tendencies.

  • Manic Depression – This is also called bipolar disorder, and it involves times with mania and depression both. In short, mania involves very elevated moods, while depression is a low mood. The mood swings can be very strong, and the elevation of the moods can often last for as long as a week at a time.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder – This is a disorder that usually sets in during the winter, as it is a depression that comes at a very specific time of the year. It doesn’t really matter what season it is, but the depression usually goes away once the season changes.
  • Post Partum Depression – This is the depression that sets in after a pregnant woman gives birth to her child. This depression is often caused by the strong shift in hormones that is caused by the birth, and the symptoms can range from mild “baby blues” to postpartum psychosis.
  • Atypical Depression – This is slightly different than Major Depressive Disorder, and it involves people reacting according to outside influences due to the fact that these people believe that the influences affect them. It can last for a short time or be permanent (it is a sub-type of Dysthymia), though the symptoms are usually milder.
  • Anxiety Depression – This is like an add-on to regular depression, as it adds anxieties and worries to depression.
  • Double Depression – Major Depression Disorder and Dysthymia at the same time is very rare, but it is called Double Depression when it happens.
  • Chronic Depression – This is when a major depression sets in for longer than two years. Mild depression for this length of time is considered Dysthymia, but severe depression is considered chronic if it lasts for more than 2 years.
  • Endogenous Depression – This is a depression without any of the symptoms, and it is something that is from the inside of your body.
  • Psychotic Depression – This is when the symptoms that are presented by the patient tend to be psychotic, often very unbelievable or fake. This is usually when a patient claims to be hearing voices, or when they make false assumptions that lead to psychotic behavior.
  • Situational Depression – This is also known as reactive depression, and it is when a specific situation triggers something inside the mind of the person which causes depression. It isn’t a major depression type because it is a temporary form that is only activated by certain situations, and it can end very quickly if the situation changes.
  • Catatonic Depression – This type of depression usually is accompanied by a loss of your voluntary movement, a very high resistance to any kind of suggestions or instructions, movements with no purpose, the inability to react to your environment, and the meaningless repetition of words that you hear from others.
  • Agitated Depression – This depression is usually accompanied by agitation, restlessness, irritability, and often insomnia. Rather than being very depressed and having low energy, this type of depression causes you to have an energy level that is almost too high.
  • Melancholic Depression – This type of depression is usually diagnosed when you feel like you can’t find fun or pleasure in anything that you are doing. You don’t feel pleasure in any activity, therefore your responses and actions are greatly slowed according to the positive events around you.

A Depression Scale Based on Emotional and Physical Symptoms of Depression

What is a depression scale?

There is no real depression scale as such that doctors use to diagnose just how depressed you are.

The depression scale is more of a self evaluating tool. The scale is usually used in the same way that a regular scale of this type is used, requiring the users to catalog their emotions and responses according to a scale of 1 to 10 or 1 to 100.

You usually see the depression scale on self-tests or tests administered by psychotherapists or psychiatrists, but there are many variations on the standard scale.

How to Use a Depression Self Test to Help Diagnose Your Depression

A depression self test a way to get an indication of your state of being: Woman writing a notebookUsing a depression self test might be a good way to help you confirm that perhaps you are suffering from a depression. Feeling the incentive to take a depression self test is an indicator in itself that most likely you are feeling some sort of depression.

However, many people are unwilling to admit to themselves that they are depressed, which is another side effect of the depression. If you don’t want to admit that you are depressed but you notice that you are moody, angry, overly tired, or distracted, a test is probably not the answer and you should really consider seeing your doctor.

The average depression self test contains a bunch of questions like:

  • How often do you stay home instead of going out?
  • Do you feel helpless often?
  • Do you find yourself feeling bored or like there is nothing to do often?
  • Would you say you are happy a lot of the time?
  • Are you content with your life?
  • How many hobbies and interests do you pursue? How many have you given up?
  • Do you have a hard time remembering things that should be important?

These questions are all to help determine if you have any of the depression symptoms mentioned above, and the questions should all be answered honestly.

After all, the depression self test will only give an indication so irrelevant of the result, do consult a medical professional. Do not ignore the feeling that made you take the test in the first place.

Once you have filled out the typical depression self test, total up the scores, and see what the results are. Usually you will be given a certain percentage, and falling into a very low category usually means that you are depressed. This will help you know that it is time to seek help.

Am I Depressed? … How Can I Help Myself?

If you are depressed, the good news is that it is not the end of the world … even though it may feel like it from the inside.

There are many things that you can do to help yourself, and here are a few tips for you as you try BESIDES consulting your doctor.

  • Get your family to help you. The more people you have supporting you, the more likely you will be to succeed.
  • Start thinking positively. Yes, this may feel like an obvious statement but as you know it is much easier said than done. But your mind is a powerful tool and even if your positive thinking feels forced or false, it will have an effect. Positive thinking cannot not rub off on your emotional state.
  • Talk it out. Keeping everything bottled up is the worst way to deal with your depression, but you have to start talking about it and get it out in the open if you want to overcome it. This is especially difficult for men but it is extremely important.
  • Do something new. Most depressed people give up on hobbies, but starting something new can usually propel you into new interests that will take your mind off your depression.
  • Get out of your house. Try to get out as much as possible. Get out into nature, spend limited time at social events, just a little. Just get out!
  • Try self help materials. There are many books, tapes, CDs, and videos made by people who have overcome their depression, and you may find that these things are very helpful.

What Would You Like to Read Now After This Article on Physical Symptoms of Depression?

12 Clinical Depression Symptoms and Psychological Depression Signs: Learn When and How to Act

Recognizing Real Bipolar Symptoms: Cutting Through the Confusion about Signs of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Depression Symptoms List: Typical Manic and Depression Behavior Traits to Look for

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms in Depth:A Research-Based Guide to Understanding ‘What Is Bipolar?’

Go to the top of this article about Physical Symptoms of Depression

Go to the homepage What Is Depression

Disclaimer for what-is-depression.org