How to Detect Early Signs of Depression?

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It’s important to understand that depression is a disease and not a character flaw or weakness. The ones who have depression understand the pain it causes, and the impact it can have on the mind and body. However, seeking timely treatment can help you manage the condition and recover. 

In this article, we will walk you through various aspects of depression that primarily include:

  1. What is Depression?
  2. What are the different types and stages of Depression?
  3. Signs and symptoms of Depression
  4. Causes and Treatment Steps

What is Depression?

As per experts, depression is a mental disorder wherein the individual starts feeling a sense of despair about everything in life. They are constantly gripped in this feeling and are unable to enjoy life to the fullest.

Feeling sad on account of certain events in life is natural as a human emotion, however, if the individual starts feeling lonely and depressed for too long (weeks/months/years), it signifies clinical depression.

Types & Stages of Depression

Depression is one of the leading factors for heart diseases and dementia and its onset may be triggered due to multiple reasons. Before we jump to the segment detailing the early signs of depression, let us first learn about the different types and stages of depression:

The four most common types of the disorder include the following:

  1. Major Depression
  2. Persistent Depressive Disorder (earlier known as Dysthymia)
  3. Bipolar Disorder
  4. Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]

Major Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)

It’s the most common form of depression with other names like – Clinical depression, Unipolar depression, etc. If someone is feeling low or is showing a loss of interest in activities (which they liked before) for nearly two weeks, it’s a sign that they suffer from clinical depression. In the moments of depression, other areas like work, social relationships, too start getting affected.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

In this type, the feelings of despair, low mood, etc. last for nearly two years but don't reach the peak of major depression. Individuals who suffer from Persistent Depressive Disorder function normally every day, but there’s always a lack of energy, enthusiasm present in them.

Bipolar Disorder

For individuals who suffer from this depression, it’s a roller-coaster ride. They show both a series of depressive episodes along with moments of high energy, high self-esteem, etc. and few moments of normalcy. The abrupt peak in feelings may often lead to self-destruct for such individuals and is followed by a period of depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]

As the name indicates, this type of depression follows a seasonal pattern. It mostly triggers during the winter season and gradually subsides with the ending of the season. If you’re wondering whether you suffer from SAD or not, look for signs like – lack of energy, considerable weight gain, unusual cravings for carbohydrates, etc.

Having found the answer to the most pressing question – how to know if you are depressed, it’s time to move onto the next segment, and learn what are the early signs of depression and how depression feels like.

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

If you are confused about  what depression feels like, here are some signs that can help you diagnose your condition:

  1. Sudden increase or decline in the intake of food
  2. Consumption of alcohol to cope with feelings of sadness and despair
  3. The feeling of being worthless and pessimistic behaviour
  4. Considerable decline in concentration impacting your academic performance and productivity at work
  5. Spike in suicidal thoughts
  6. Too much sleeping or becoming an insomniac
  7. The feeling of becoming invisible and getting socially isolated
  8. Being lethargic at all times
  9. Abrupt increase or decrease in body weight
  10. Anger and frustration are heightened

Why Do We Feel Depressed? 


As per medical research, depression can pass on between generations. So, if anyone in your family ever faced depression, and you’re too feeling lonely and depressed, chances are that you’re suffering from depression too. However, that’s not always the case. Even if no one in your family had depression, it may still be triggered due to various other factors. It’s worth remembering that genetics is just one of the risk factors. 

Brain Chemistry

Few neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) inside our brain are responsible for transmitting information between nerve cells while some neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine control our mood. So, if you’re feeling low, chances are that the count of these brain chemicals might be lower or they are not effective enough.

Hormonal Imbalance, Stress or Alcoholism

Mental stress, alcohol, and drug consumption, or hormonal imbalance can considerably impact your mood draining out your energy for no apparent reason and make you feel lethargic.

Caring for Depressed Individuals

It is not uncommon among many individuals to have come across a friend or a loved one who is going through depression. If you notice early signs of depression in someone you know, there are a few things you should do, which could help ease that person out of their depressed state. 

Be a Good Listener

Individuals who are going through depression would tend to isolate themselves and not be keen on socializing. In such cases, approach the person and let them know that you are here for them and would like to hear them out. 

Doing so will help the person open up and share what’s troubling them, ultimately taking some stress off. 

Be Patient

Depression comes in various forms and can be unpredictable at times. If someone you know is experiencing severe bouts of depression, easing them out of it is always going to be a long term process. 

It requires you to be patient and consistently lend out a helping hand as the individual goes through a recovery process. 

Don’t Hesitate from Seeking Professional Help

A mistake most people make is that they take too long to realise that a friend or loved one requires professional help to get out of depression. Even if you feel that your support is proving beneficial, never disregard the opportunity to seek help. 

Get in touch with a psychologist or psychiatrist the moment you sense a loved one going through depression, as it may give you a stronger idea of how to manage the situation.

Treating Depression

  1. Include exercise in your daily routine as it boosts the amount of serotonin, endorphin, and other feel-good brain chemicals.
  2. Network and socialize more and avoid isolation at all costs. Constantly being in touch with your friends and family keeps you motivated, cheerful, and minimizes your risk of relapsing into depression again.
  3. Focus on your diet and take necessary vitamin supplements after consulting with your doctor.
  4. Undergo psychotherapy and consult a psychologist to get rid of your stress, emotional burden that you might be carrying due to relationship issues, family disputes, or other triggers.

Why Cadabams

We use our 28+ years of expertise to ensure that you get the treatment you need and deserve. Our multispecialty team of psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, and physicians continually works with you and your family members to ensure a well-rounded and holistic depression treatment. With state-of-the-art infrastructure, experienced professionals, and strong community support, we offer world-class evidence-based treatment. As pioneers in private behavioural healthcare services, we pride ourselves on our renowned psychotherapy,  pharmacotherapy, and community-based treatment for depression.

Our programs help you or your loved one recover by using the top therapeutic interventions used worldwide. Our high-quality and comfortable facilities, qualified mental health professionals, caregiver support plans, post-diagnostic support, post-care support, and crisis intervention ensure that all your needs are met. At Cadabams, we care for you.

To learn more about depression diagnosis and treatment, call us @ +91 97414 76476.

FAQs About Depression

1. What are the signs of depression?

Loss of interest, hopelessness, change in appetite, low mood, lack of concentration, poor energy level, change in sleeping habits, persistent sadness, social withdrawal, extreme change in moods are some of the common signs of depression.

2. Do I have signs of depression?

Self-diagnosis is a big “no”. So, if you ever feel something is wrong, instead of looking for symptoms so that you can self-diagnose, you must get in touch with a professional and seek their intervention. 

3. What to do if you have signs of depression?

Find a good professional and get their help. Early intervention can make a big difference in helping you control your symptoms. At Cadabam’s Hospitals, we have a multi-specialty team of mental health professionals who specialize in depression. Connect with us today and get the needed help.

4. How to spot signs of depression in someone?

Understand that a person going through depression may not necessarily show any evident symptoms. However, that said, there are still some signs that you can look for. Like, their behavior has changed lately, they don’t hang around with people as much as they used to, they look tired and low most of the time, they get irritated easily, they are often restless, they have lost or gained weight. If you suspect someone is going through depression, encourage them to seek professional help.

5. What are the signs when depression is dangerous?

At any time you discover something is not right and you’re not feeling well mentally, it’s usually recommended that you take proper measures. Don’t wait for things to deteriorate; don’t wait for signs to become “dangerous”. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment can ensure your mental well-being.

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