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How do you know it’s more than the blues? 10 early signs of depression

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According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a mood disorder that affects more than 280 million people around the world. Of those people, at least 700,000 will make a suicide attempt. For this reason, it is important to identify the early signs of depression so you can get help before it gets too bad. Here are 10 of the early signs of depression you should look out for.

Loss of interest in daily activities

For people who are going through an episode of depression, the loss of interest in daily activities is often one of the first symptoms. People with depression may lose interest in tasks that brought them joy and may even lose their sexual desire and feel as if the future looks bleak or hopeless.

Depression causes a lack of energy

10 early signs of depression

Along with a genuine loss of interest in activities that were once a source of happiness, depression often leads to a general lack of physical and mental energy. This leaves patients feeling tired, discouraged, and physically unable to be active, which also leads to procrastination.

Depression can lead to concentration problems

Trouble concentrating is another of the most common early signs of depression. Inability to focus can also have to do with anxiety. Forgetting where you left you keys, important events, significant dates or difficulty in making decisions are just some of the symptoms that people suffering from depression report.

Loss of appetite

10 early signs of depression

Loss of appetite is associated with early signs of depression, and is related to loss of motivation and interest, as well as a drastic change in habits. In the most extreme cases, a 5% loss of body weight can occur within a month. Thus, it is necessary to get help dealing with depression to resume healthy habits that contribute to physical and mental well-being.

Feelings of helplessness

In most cases, depression is characterized by negative feelings, hopelessness and the vision of a bleak future in which life presents difficulties that are impossible to overcome. This sensation is also accompanied by questions and feelings of guilt.

Depression causes sleep problems

10 early signs of depression

Along with fatigue, there are also episodes of insomnia, a condition that affects 1 in 3 adults in the United States. Although insomnia is not the exclusive result of depression, lack of sleep can impact the central nervous system. According to experts, episodes of physical or mental trauma can lead to sleep disturbances that, in turn, lead to fatigue. A fatigued person will feel less energy to carry out activities and, thus, will enter a cycle where these symptoms will recur.


Although it is true that depression does not necessarily cause anxiety, they can occur simultaneously and cause symptoms that affect daily life. Among the most common manifestations of anxiety are: feeling of panic, catastrophic thoughts, rapid breathing, tremors, muscle spasms, rapid heart rate and general restlessness.

Irritability is one of the early signs of depression

A man with depression

Science has proven that anxiety affects men and women differently. Men tend to have more drastic changes in mood. Irritability and sudden mood swings are reflected, in most cases, in episodes of anger, violent reactions, withdrawal and, in some cases, substance abuse.

Suicidal ideation

Depression, as has been seen, is the cause of more than 700,000 suicide attempts a year. Of this figure, a high percentage of people showed suicidal tendencies or wishes to do themselves physical harm. Feeling like you want to die could be linked, among other things, to a lack of motivation, catastrophic thoughts and the physical and emotional exhaustion that results from depression.

Risky behavior


Pamela Cantor, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, explains that depression is closely related to the appearance of risky behaviors such as excessive consumption of alcohol, unprotected sex or self-harm. According to available scientific studies, risky behaviors provide a sense of relief from the emotional pain that people with depression and anxiety experience.

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