Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Symptoms of depression

What is depression?

Depression is a mental health condition which can affect a person's ability to function.

Depression can affect people differently depending on their age, gender, personality traits and cultural background. Some people may find it hard to speak about feeling depressed and may focus on physical symptoms instead.

Anyone who has felt down and sad for more than 2 weeks and has experienced several of the following symptoms is advised to visit a doctor or mental health practitioner.

Emotional symptoms of depression include:

  • feeling sad, down or empty for most of the day, nearly every day
  • loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • becoming withdrawn from friends or family
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • suicidal thoughts
  • crying for no reason.

Physical symptoms of depression include:

  • low energy, fatigue and reduced activity
  • insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite or weight
  • increased sleep or appetite (atypical depression)
  • trouble concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • slowed body movements, thinking or speech
  • difficulty sitting still, pacing or hand-wringing
  • diminished sex drive
  • back pain or headaches
  • feeling sick and run down
  • digestive problems.

Symptoms of anxiety are also common in people with depression, as the 2 conditions often occur together.

Depression symptoms in younger people

Symptoms of depression in young children or teenagers are similar to adults, but there are some differences. Young children may have difficulty expressing that they feel depressed, but may appear irritable, have unexplained aches and pains, lose interest in playing with friends, or have trouble concentrating at school.

Signs of depression in teenagers include avoidance of social interaction, falling performance at school, and reduced or excessive sleep. Teenagers with depression may also have behaviour changes such as anger and acting out, increased risk-taking (such as driving or sexual relationships) and drug and alcohol abuse.

Depression symptoms in older people

Depression is often undiagnosed in elderly people, as their symptoms may be misinterpreted as being due to physical illness or losses experienced in old age. Suicidal thoughts in older people should be taken seriously, as older men have a high rate of suicide linked to depression.

Not sure what to do next?

If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues, try healthdirect’s symptom checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: June 2015

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 3080 results

Symptoms of depression

Depression is a common experience with one in seven Australians experiencing depression in their lifetime. We all experience periods when we feel low and a bit depressed. Experiences such as having a bad day at work or hearing some bad news can impact on our mood. Sometimes we can even feel sad for no reason at all.

Read more on Black Dog Institute website

Symptoms of Depression

Find out about the common feelings, thoughts, physical problems and behaviours experienced by people with depression.

Read more on e-hub Mental Health - Australian National University (ANU) website

Signs and symptoms of depression

Some indicators of depression include feeling sad, down or miserable most of the time or losing interest or pleasure in usual activities

Read more on beyondblue website

What is depression? | ReachOut.com Australia

What is depression? Find out about the symptoms of depression, common causes, and treatments.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

The vicious cycle of depression

The symptoms of depression can bring about some drastic changes in a depressed person’s life, daily routines, and their behaviour.

Read more on Centre for Clinical Interventions website

How To Deal With Depression and Sadness | THIS WAY UP

Unexplained or overwhelming sadness can be a symptom of depression. Learn more about depression, its causes, and ways to get better.

Read more on This Way Up website

Depression - Partners to Parents

Are you or your partner experiencing depression? Find out the symptoms of depression in fathers and mothers.

Read more on Partners to Parents website

Medical treatments for anxiety

Some types of antidepressant medication can help people to manage anxiety, even if they are not experiencing symptoms of depression

Read more on beyondblue website

Depression

Clinical depression is an illness, a medical condition. It significantly affects the way someone feels, causing a persistent lowering of mood. Depression is often accompanied by a range of other physical and psychological symptoms that can interfere with the way a person is able to function in their everyday life. The symptoms of depression generally react positively to treatment

Read more on Mi Networks website

MindSpot Clinic | Wellbeing Course

The Wellbeing Course is designed to help adults aged 26-64 years learn to manage mild, moderate, and severe symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Read more on MindSpot Clinic website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback