Depression Symptoms

Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people with major depressive disorder will have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
  • Sadness
  • Loss of energy.  Chronically tired
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure at things which were previously enjoyable.
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Increased or decreased need for sleep
  • Change in appetite, gaining/losing weight quickly
  • Body aches and pains which are unexplained
  • Silence
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts/attempts.

    Depression symptoms in children and teens

    Common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or being underweight.

  • In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interaction.

    Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    (ADHD) can demonstrate irritability without sadness or loss of interest. However, major depression can occur with ADHD.

    Depression symptoms in older adults

    Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and it should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, and they may feel reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, such as:

  • Memory difficulties or personality changes
  • Physical aches or pain
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems, aches or loss of interest in sex — not caused by a medical condition or medication
  • Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things
  • Suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in older men

    (Depression (major depressive disorder), Mayo Clinic)

Behavioral Interventions to Diminish Depression
  • Diet (good nutrition is important)
  • Exercise
  • Sunlight, and being outside
  • Groom yourself in the morning
  • 10-minute tasks (break tasks up into 10 minute periods)
  • Social involvement – accept invitations to be social.
  • Decrease TV and reading the newspaper for awhile (for less things to worry about).  
  • Eliminate caffeine, and increase water intake.
  • Do anything that feels nurturing to you
  • Smile—it chemically changes your mood.
  • Use direct communication—for what you want.
  • Think or talk to yourself with love and forgiveness.
  • Serve others, or volunteer.  This releases the "feel good" chemicals and can help lift depression. 

(Possible) Treatments for Depression
  • Medication
  • Therapy
  • Time
  • Spirituality and forgiveness
  • Combinations of the above
  • Major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S.   It can significantly interfere with individual thoughts, behaviors, moods, activities, and physical health.  
  • Depression is treatable; however, if left untreated, it can lead to suicide.  If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

    When to get emergency help:

    If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

    Also consider these options if you're having suicidal thoughts:
    • Call your mental health specialist.
    • Call Spokane's First Call for Help at (509) 838-4428.
    • Call a suicide hotline number — National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
      Use that same number and press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
    • Seek help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
    • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
    • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

      If a loved one or friend is in danger of attempting suicide or has made an attempt:
    • Make sure someone stays with that person
    • Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately
    • Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room

      (Depression (major depressive disorder), Mayo Clinic)
  • Environmental factors may play a big role in depression in children.
  • Depression is not a “solo” condition; it resonates throughout the entire family, and creates a significant increase in risk for depression in other family members.  When depressed mothers receive appropriate treatment, depression in their children lessens. 
  • In 2013, 11% of adults reported poor mental health in Spokane County.  The proportion decreased as age and income increased, and non-whites were more likely to experience poor mental health than whites.  Poor mental health is defined as 14 or more days of poor mental health in the last 30 days.  (Spokane Counts 2015, Spokane Regional Health District)

  • Among youth ages 14-18, or 8th-12th grade, in 2014, 33% reported being depressed in the last year in Spokane County.  Depression among youth decreased as maternal education level increased, increased as age increased, and was more likely among females, Hispanics, and multi-racial youth.  (Spokane Counts 2015, Spokane Regional Health District) 
  • Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill both struggled with depression. 

What You Can Do
  • If your depression has become unbearable, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values.

  • If you are considering ending your life, please talk to someone.  There are people all around you who are willing to help—but you need to speak up.  Talk to someone you trust, and ask for help.

    If you have no one to talk to,
    • Call (509) 838-4428   First Call for Help in Spokane
    • Contact the Resources listed on this page. 
  • "Good deeds (helping someone in need, showing kindness, writing a thank-you note) can also serve as an effective, low-cost treatment for depression, and how we feel about ourselves, others, and life in general.

Good deeds require no doctor's prescription, have no negative side effects, and most often cost nothing more than a little time and effort and a bit of your heart. 

When you are depressed it seems difficult, and at times impossible, to think of others or do for others in any meaningful way; so, start small.  Find a way, even in your sorrow, to open your heart to others.  Write notes to people who have touched your life for good.  Make phone calls and visits to others who might be lonely.  Bake homemade treats and share them.  Miraculously, your own burdens and losses will seem more bearable, as you think and act positively for the good of others. 

Today, reflect on the good things in your life, even right them down.  As you go about your busy life, find time for service to others.  A smile, a willing heart, and a helping hand can change someone's day for the better, and yours as well."  (Music and the Spoken Word, BYU-TV, April 22, 2012) 
Local Organizations