Depression Signs & Symptoms

Rolling Hills Hospital helps individuals struggling with depression build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving Ada, near Oklahoma City, Rolling Hills Hospital is the premier provider of mental health & addiction treatment for adolescents, adults & seniors.

Understanding Depression

Learn about depression

Depression, a mental health condition that is characterized by pervasive feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness, has the ability to negatively impact a person’s daily functioning if treatment is not sought. Sleep disturbances, fluctuations in a person’s weight, and a compromised immune system are known to occur in those that suffer from a depressive disorder. Furthermore, depression can effect a person’s ability to fulfill roles, maintain attendance at school or work, or cause an individual to isolate him or herself from friends and loved ones. Prolonged depression can even lead to the onset of self-harm, suicidal ideations, or even attempts at ending one’s own life. Fortunately, there are treatment options available that can prevent these detrimental effects and restore healthy functioning. The pivotal thing to know is that the symptoms of depression can be overcome with proper treatment.


Depression statistics

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that affect people of all ages. It is estimated that 7% of adults experience symptoms associated with depression and that more women than men are diagnosed with this mental health condition. In terms of children and adolescents who meet criteria for a depression diagnosis, research has found that 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents present with symptoms synonymous with a depressive disorder. Finally, studies have concluded that nearly 15% of senior adults suffer from or develop depression symptoms as well.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for depression

The development of depression is believed to stem from several causes and risk factors working together. Mental health professionals agree that the following explain why some people receive a diagnosis of depression:

Genetic: Research has concluded that depression is a disorder that can be inherited. Because 40% of individuals with a depression diagnosis have a family history of depression, it can be said that genes play a role in the development of depression.

Physical: Chemical imbalances in the brain are known to occur in those with depression. Serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate a person’s mood, are the chemicals most effected by depression. Furthermore, through the use of neuroimaging, the brain structure of those suffering from depression is different than those who do not meet criteria for a depression diagnosis.

Environmental: The onset of depression can be triggered by certain environmental events or circumstances. Experts note that exposure to trauma, abuse, neglect, or being the victim of a crime can bring about symptoms of depression if a person does not have the necessary coping skills to process these kinds of experiences. The reason for this is that an individual’s brain chemistry can be altered when an individual’s startle response is triggered and mood-regulating neurotransmitters do not return to normal. This reaction can also lead to sleep disturbances and changes in eating, both of which can lead to the onset or worsen symptoms of depression.

Risk Factors:

  • Being female
  • Personal history of another mental illness
  • Personal history of using or abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Family history of depression or other mental illnesses
  • Elevated stress levels
  • Exposure to trauma, abuse, or neglect
  • Being the victim of a crime
  • Inability to acquire or maintain employment
  • Inability to achieve academically
  • Experiencing a major life change
  • Financial strife or poverty

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of depression

Depending on the type and severity of depression symptoms present, the signs and symptoms of this disorder can manifest differently. Additionally, a person’s age can impact the way in which symptoms are able to be identified. Listed are common behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms associated with depression:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Self-injury
  • Missing school or work
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Unexplained emotional outbursts
  • Not being able to adhere to responsibilities
  • Declined interest in things that were once enjoyed

Physical symptoms:

  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Decreased energy levels
  • Experiencing physical aches and/or pain

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Problems with memory
  • Delayed thinking
  • Impaired decision-making
  • Inability to concentrate

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Being over critical of self
  • Guilty feelings
  • Sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Irritableness


Effects of depression

Effective treatment is necessary to avoid the negative effects associated with depression. Treatment involving psychotherapy that teaches beneficial coping skills has been extremely beneficial in helping people that are diagnosed with depression. Furthermore, medication to curb adverse symptoms has proven to be most effective when a person is also engaged in traditional therapy with a mental health professional. Examples of effects that can occur if an individual does not engage in the kinds of treatment discussed or through other methods of intervention are:

  • Increased levels of anxiety
  • Distressing conflict within interpersonal relationships
  • Hindered academic or occupational functioning
  • Compromised immune system
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Poor decision-making
  • Obesity
  • Substance use or abuse
  • Self-injury
  • Suicidal ideations or attempts

Co-Occurring Disorders

Depression and co-occurring disorders

Individuals who are suffering from depression frequently struggle with another mental health condition. Whether depression is brought on by symptoms of another disorder or vice versa, the following mental disorders are known to occur alongside depression:

  • Substance use disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Dementia
  • Schizophrenia

After almost losing hope, Rolling Hills helped me manage my depression and get my life around. I know brighter days are ahead for me.

– Former Patient