Unlike illnesses like measles or the common cold, someone suffering from depression rarely show physical changes that can be easily spotted. Instead it's their actions in everyday life that begin to change. Friends of the sufferer who do not know much about depression can interpret these changes as either nothing important, or worse, see them as a reason to no longer be friends with the sufferer. However once you know what to look for, depression can become obvious.
If a friend or family member begins to show several (not just one or two) of these symptoms for more than two weeks, it is possible that they are suffering from depression and need professional medical help.
1. The person has drastic change of appetite
Obviously if they are dieting this could explain the change. And other medical conditions can also trigger this symptom. But if someone who used to have a normal appetite suddenly starts gorging themselves (or eating almost nothing), and they have other symptoms on this list, it helps confirm a depression diagnosis.
2. The person has a sudden change in sleeping patterns
The classic sign of a sleeping change is a person staying it bed until after midday, but even a change to getting up really early in the morning can indicate depression.
3. The person suddenly loses interest in things and activities that they used to enjoy
Everyone's tastes and interests change over time. But when a person has been passionate about a hobby, club or regular activity for a long time then suddenly does not want anything to do with it, depression may be the cause.
4. There is energy loss and presence of fatigue
Someone who is depressed can feel constantly tired, like they do not have the energy to do anything – even if they have been sleeping and eating well.
5. The person loses hope
For someone with depression, there is never anything to hope for. They believe that bad things will always happen, and even if something good happens they will believe it's either not real, or something bad will follow very shortly to undo the good event.
6. The person has a "My life is passing by" feeling
Usually present with the loss of hope, the person begins to feel that their life is starting to unravel before their eyes, or that that no matter what they do they have no control over it. They may feel there is nothing they can do to change their life.
7. The person becomes indecisive
Someone who used to be confident in their decisions suddenly starts to second-guess themselves, becoming indecisive and not sure what decision they should make. Even something as minor as what they should eat becomes a big deal.
8. The person feels that they are unworthy
The person begins to feel that they have nothing to live for, or even that they are unworthy of being loved or appreciated. If left unchecked, this can sometimes progress into the next symptom.
9. The person is suicidal
This is a major and alarming sign that a person is depressed and medical help is needed. No matter what the situation (and even if they are not showing any other signs of depression), do not delay in getting the person help.
10. The person becomes mentally disturbed
People who know the person well will notice that their thoughts seem to totally change – they may start thinking about morbid things, or bizarre thoughts that they have never had before. In some cases, the person may even start hallucinating. This is another symptom where even if other signs of depression are not present, the person obviously needs help.
11. The person develops physical aches
For no obvious physical reason, the person starts to get aches or muscle pains in their body.
12. The person becomes antisocial
Someone who is depressed will often cut themselves off from friends and family, either making excuses about why they can not join gatherings, ignoring all calls or visits, or even promoting to meet up and then never showing. In some rare cases the person can exhibit the other extreme (they become afraid to be along and strive to always be with people, no matter how impractical).
Someone only having one or two of these symptoms is illegally to have depression. And many of these symptoms can be the result of other problems in the persons life. But when several signs are present, it is important to treat the problem seriously and try to get help for your friend or family member.