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Warning Signs of Depression


Updated May 16, 2014

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Depression is considered one of the primary symptoms of bipolar disorder. However, it is actually a set of symptoms characteristic of one aspect of bipolar disorder. An episode of depression, as it relates to bipolar disorder, is the downswing in a mood cycle. An episode of depression is debilitating, often leaving the sufferer completely dysfunctional. It is an extreme emotional state that impairs daily living. So it is important to be familiar with the warning signs of depression.

Fluctuations Between Mania and Depression

Bipolar disorder is a disease -- it is a medical condition that causes psychological problems to such a degree that daily functioning is hampered by the symptoms. (See What Is Bipolar Disorder for more details.) The most predominant symptoms come together into episodes that are extremes of mood known as mania and depression. These extremes of mood are well beyond the normal mood fluctuations all people experience and are not proportional responses to life events.

Red Flag Warning Signs of Depression

There are a number of warning signs -- red flags –- that you or someone you love may be experiencing depression. These symptoms of depression are organized into broad categories for easier reference. It is important to note that depression is experienced differently from one person to the next so not all symptoms will present for all individuals.

Changes in Activity or Energy Level

  • Decreased energy
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Diminished activity
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Social withdrawal

Physical Changes Caused by Depression

Emotional Pain of Depression

  • Prolonged sadness
  • Unexplained, uncontrollable crying
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Despair
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness

Difficult Moods Associated with Depression

  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Worry/anxiety
  • Pessimism
  • Indifference
  • Self-critical

Changes in Thought Patterns due to Depression

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Indecision
  • Memory problems
  • Disorganized

Preoccupation with Death

Further Detailed Information Regarding the Symptoms of Depression

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