Signs and Symptoms

Signs are things that people can notice about a person, and symptoms are things that a person feels.

In the case of someone having the flu, signs might include looking pale or tired, or coughing and sneezing. Symptoms might include feeling a fever or muscle pain.

Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is a diagnosable condition. The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM-V) used by psychologists describes a diagnosis as:

Either
1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day. OR
2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.

And one of
3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

And one of
3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

Signs of Depression

Someone experiencing these symptoms might show it in one of two ways. Some of the symptoms above are observable to others, such as a loss of interest in regular activities or weight loss or gain. Additionally, some other outward signs might be:

  • Missing school or work, or difficulties at school or work
  • Irritability
  • Increase in alcohol use
  • Loss of attention to physical appearance or hygiene
  • Increase in careless behavior