Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital offers high-quality services and support for adults and senior adults who are struggling with depression. Located in Chattanooga, TN, Erlanger is a leading provider of depression treatment.

Understanding Depression

Learn about depression

If you or someone you care about is struggling with symptoms of a depressive disorder, learning more about the disease can help you take important steps towards treatment. Depression is a common mental health concern, affecting countless Americans each day. While each individual will have their own unique experience of the disease, there are some common symptoms to familiarize yourself with as you consider seeking professional help.

Depression is more than just a period of sadness or a bout of “the blues.” We will all experience hardships throughout our lives that will affect our mood in negative ways, but depression is a far more serious concern. Depression is a mental illness that causes a significant interruption in your ability to function. It impacts your physical, mental, and emotional health in damaging ways, and can make it hard to perform at work or in school. As the condition worsens, it can impact your ability to maintain healthy relationships with the people you care about, to meet your daily responsibilities, and to take care of yourself.

But fortunately, there is treatment for depression available. With the support of a comprehensive treatment program, you can discover the underlying causes affecting your mood and gain new coping tools to manage your symptoms. An experienced team of treatment professionals can assist you in accessing a healing experience that will set you on the road to lifelong recovery from depression.


Statistics about depression

Depression is a widespread problem in the United States, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for depression

Your risk of developing depression can increase or decrease depending on various factors, such as the following:

  • Experiencing abuse, neglect, or other types of childhood adversity
  • Having a disabling or chronic medical condition
  • Being female (depression is more common among girls and women than among boys and men)
  • Having a parent or sibling who has struggled with depression or other types of mental illness
  • Personal history of mental illness or addiction

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of depression

Although each person’s experience of depression will be unique, many who suffer from the condition demonstrate some of the symptoms listed below. You may experience these symptoms at various levels, and at times they may seem to abate or become more acute. However, it’s important to mention that the onset of these symptoms may begin without a known cause, and they typically will not dissipate without professional help.

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Giving away important possessions (this can indicate that the person is thinking about suicide, which can be a symptom of depression)
  • Apparent loss of interest in activities or topics that were once of great importance
  • Withdrawing from friends and/or family members
  • Frequently talking about death or dying
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness

Physical symptoms:

  • Frequent headaches and stomachaches
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Fatigue, lethargy, or persistent lack of energy
  • Altered sleep patterns (including both insomnia and hypersomnia)
  • Changes in appetite, and resultant weight gain or loss

Mental symptoms:

  • Poor sense of self-confidence
  • Pervasive sense of helplessness or futility
  • Recurring thoughts of death or dying
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Significant mood swings
  • Indecisiveness or poor decision-making skills
  • Diminished self-esteem


Effects of depression

Without receiving professional treatment for depression, you may put yourself at increased risk for a variety of negative effects, such as the following:

  • Family discord
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Health problems due to personal neglect
  • Onset or worsening of other mental health disorders
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicidal behaviors
  • Strained or ruined friendships
  • Substandard performance in school or at work
  • Academic failure
  • Job loss and chronic unemployment
  • Financial problems

Please know that these outcomes can be avoided by deciding to enter a quality residential treatment program. Even if you’ve already experienced these damages as a result of your depression, you can begin working towards a healthy, balanced life with the right support.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Common co-occurring disorders among people who have depression

If you struggle with depression, you may also be more likely to be diagnosed with one of the following co-occurring mental health conditions:

  • Panic disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Substance use disorders (the clinical term for addiction)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Anorexia nervosa
Marks of Quality Care
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval