Learn More About The Symptoms, Signs, & Effects of Depression

Depression is a mental health disorder that can include feelings of emotional numbness, hopelessness, and irritability. Many people may feel down from time to time, but depression is more than occasional sadness. Symptoms of depression make it difficult to perform daily tasks and accomplish long-term goals. People who struggle with depression can experience many physical and cognitive symptoms, such as fatigue and lack of concentration.  

The symptoms of depression can cause daily distress and make it hard to enjoy a happy and fulfilling life. However, those who have depression symptoms can find relief by receiving treatment. At Life Healing Center, located in Santa Fe, New Mexico, we offer excellent customized care for people who are suffering from depression.  

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Signs and symptoms of depression and the severity of those symptoms can vary from person to person, which means that even though two people may be suffering from depression, their symptoms could be very different from each other. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that may indicate that you or a loved one is struggling with depression. The signs and symptoms of depression can include: 

  • Impatience or agitation 
  • Unexplained anger 
  • Hopelessness and feelings of emptiness 
  • Intermittent or consistent bouts of crying 
  • Sleeping too little (insomnia) or sleeping too much (hypersomnia) 
  • Difficulty focusing or making decisions 
  • Slowed thought and slowed physical movement, to the point that it’s noticeable to others 
  • Trouble remembering things 
  • Lack of interest in appearance or grooming 
  • Unexplained physical pain, such as headaches or backaches 
  • Difficulty keeping up with basic responsibilities at school or work 
  • Lack of interest in activities that once gave you pleasure 
  • Difficulty connecting with friends and partners  
  • Development of co-occurring disorders 
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain, or a noticeable increase or decrease in appetite 
  • Daily fatigue  
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt  
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, thoughts of death by suicide without a plan, or a specific plan for death by suicide  

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of depression, you may want to consider contacting a mental health professional.  

Common Causes of Depression & Potential Risk Factors

A mix of biological and environmental factors can contribute to someone developing symptoms of depression. Specifically, these factors can include traumatic events, family history, and personality traits. The following is a list of potential causes of and risk factors for depression: 

  • Stressful events: When a person suffers from extended periods of intense sadness or hopelessness after experiencing a stressful event such as a divorce, the loss of a loved one, or a strained friendship, it may be a sign that they are struggling with depression. 
  • Abuse: Suffering from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse can lead to the development of symptoms of depression. 
  • Personality traits: Certain personality traits, such as perfectionism, low self-esteem, and a tendency to overanalyze, can make some people more inclined to suffer from depression. 
  • Family history: If people who are in your immediate family struggle with depression, you may be more likely to have it yourself.  
  • Childhood trauma: Those who experienced abuse or neglect as a child may be more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression as an adult.  
  • Illness: People who suffer from chronic illnesses or life-threatening diseases can experience depression symptoms as they navigate changes in lifestyle, deal with pain, and, in some cases, face the fear of death.  
  • Substance abuse: Some people may begin to abuse drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with depression symptoms. This substance abuse then has the potential of turning into an addiction, which can lead to further problems in a person’s life.  
  • Loneliness: People have a biological need to connect with others. When people feel isolated and lack support, they can suffer from depression.  

While there are possible causes of and risk factors for depression, people can also experience symptoms of depression with no clear cause. Depression is not a result of any kind of flaw or weakness. Researchers continue to explore possible reasons why some people develop depression and others do not. If you think that you may be at a greater risk for developing depression or are experiencing symptoms of depression, it may be time to seek professional help.  

Potential Effects of Depression

Untreated symptoms of depression can be devastating and can lower a person’s sense of self-confidence and well-being over time. These symptoms may also begin to negatively affect many parts of someone’s life, such as their relationships, job performance, and personal happiness. The negative effects of untreated depression symptoms can include: 

  • Self-harm 
  • Substance abuse 
  • Difficulty completing important or complex tasks 
  • General sense of feeling stuck  
  • Physical health risks such as heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, or a weakened immune system  
  • Financial problems 
  • No longer taking care of personal hygiene 
  • Loss of control of appetite, whether eating too much or too little 
  • Co-occurring mental health concerns 
  • Social isolation 
  • Death by suicide 

Getting help from a mental health professional can be an important step toward avoiding these effects and improving your health and wellness. By receiving supportive care, you can begin the process of healing and strengthening aspects of your life that have been negatively affected by depression. 

What Happens if My Depression Symptoms Return?

Getting professional care for depression can help alleviate some depression symptoms and offer support as you learn how to manage other symptoms. Over time, however, triggers such as stress at work, negative life changes, and other difficulties could cause certain depression symptoms to return. While some people may only have one episode of depression in their lives, others may experience the return of depression symptoms even after receiving care. Part of depression treatment can include receiving training on how to recognize and avoid the triggers that may cause this and how to cope with circumstances that cannot be avoided. 

Sometimes depression symptoms can return with no identifiable external cause whatsoever. In these cases, receiving ongoing care from a mental health professional can help you cope with symptoms and appropriately manage the effects of depression as they come up. In addition to getting care from professionals, finding peer support through local or online depression support groups can also be very helpful. While healing from depression is possible, it may require consistent attention and maintenance.  

It’s very important to remember that there’s nothing to be ashamed of when asking for more help along the way. Returning to a residential program for care, for example, should not be seen as a failure but instead as a sign that you are maintaining your mental health and investing in your future. At Life Healing Center, we work with our clients to create strategies that help them address challenges that may affect the healing process. We always welcome clients to return for more care if further help might benefit them.  

Co-Occurring Disorders

People who have depression may also suffer from co-occurring disorders, which means that they are struggling with two or more behavioral health concerns at one time. Co-occurring disorders can be another mental health disorder or an addiction. Examples of disorders that can co-occur with depression are: 

  • Anxiety disorders 
  • Borderline personality disorder 
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Adjustment disorder 
  • Substance use disorders 

If you are struggling with multiple concerns at once, it is crucial to find a team of mental health professionals that can work with you to address your individual needs. When you get the right professional assistance to help you manage depression symptoms, those professionals can also help you identify and learn how to cope with symptoms of any co-occurring disorders.  

Life Healing Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, provides individualized care that can help people who have been suffering from depression and co-occurring concerns find lasting healing.  

Depression Statistics

According to the National Institutes of Health, a study done in 2021 showed that half of the Americans surveyed reported experiencing symptoms of depression, and 10% of those people felt that their mental health needs were not being met.  

The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the following statistics on depression: 

  • An estimated 5% of adults worldwide suffer from depression. 
  • Depression is around 50% more common in women than in men. 
  • More than 700,000 people who are suffering from depression die by suicide every year. 
  • Around 11% of physician office visits included depression as part of a patient’s medical history. 
  • More than 75% of people in low- and middle-income countries do not receive treatment for depression.  

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Life Healing Center.

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Suicidal thoughts were always on the top of my mind. Only Life Healing Center was able to break through my depression and help me cope with my depression. I definitely could not recommend this place any more for those with depression!

– John M.
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  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)