Help for Caregivers - Signs of Depression

Physical Signs

  • Aches, pains, or other physical complaints that seem to have no physical basis
  • Marked change in appetite (or weight loss or gain)
  • Change in sleep patterns (insomnia, early morning waking, sleeping more than usual)
  • Fatigue, lack of energy, being "slowed down"

Emotional Signs

  • Pervasive sadness, anxiety, or "empty" mood
  • Apathy (lack of feeling anything at all)
  • Decreased pleasure or enjoyment
  • Crying for no apparent reason, with no relief
  • Indifference to others

Changes in Thoughts

  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self- reproach, inadequacy, helplessness
  • Inappropriate or excessive guilt
  • Impaired concentration, slowed or disorganized thinking
  • Forgetfulness, problems with memory
  • Indecision: unable to make decisions or take action
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Changes in Behavior

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities, including sex
  • Neglect of personal appearance, hygiene, home, and responsibilities
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks - ordinary tasks are overwhelming
  • Withdrawal from people and usual activities; wanting to be alone
  • Increased use of alcohol and drugs
  • Increased irritability, arguing, or hostility
  • Greater agitation, pacing, restlessness, hand wringing
  • Suicide attempts or talking about suicide

Reprinted with permission from , by Vicki L. Schmall, LaJean Lawson, and Ruth Stiehl.