11 Signs of Depression and Anxiety

By: Jayson Tripp, MD


Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health conditions in the United States, with millions of Americans diagnosed with one or both each year. The effects of mental illness are not always black and white, though. Symptoms of anxiety and depression can manifest differently from person to person, making it difficult to identify if you or a loved one should seek treatment. Sometimes, people need help recognizing their symptoms. Here are 11 of the most common signs of depression and anxiety to watch out for, and how to seek help if you suspect you or a loved one need medical treatment.

  • Persistent feelings of sadness and/or emptiness

People with depression often experience a continuous feeling of melancholy. Though everyone experiences low points throughout their life, spending most of your days feeling hopeless with no clear indicator may be a sign to seek professional help.

  • Constant and intense feelings of stress and/or worry

While it’s normal to worry from time to time, feeling stressed out to the point that it interferes with your daily life could indicate an anxiety disorder.

  • Loss of interest in most or all enjoyable interests

Disinterest in activities that once brought joy or experiencing apathy toward everyday activities could be a sign of depression. If you notice your loved one avoiding their favorite activities or withdrawing from their family and friends, try to reach out to them.

  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping 

Depression and anxiety can leave you tossing and turning all night with an overactive mind, or they may cause you to feel tired and sluggish. If you notice your loved one’s sleeping habits change dramatically (such as constantly sleeping late and or staying up until all hours of the morning) they may be struggling with their mental health.

  • Change in appetite and/or weight

A common side effect in people with depression and anxiety is a change in appetite. You may notice them eating less or forgetting to eat altogether, or they could start eating more and rapidly gaining weight. If you see alarming changes in your loved one’s eating habits, try to express your concern in a gentle way.

  • Aches, pains, or digestive problems without physical cause

People who suffer from anxiety and depression can experience a physical toll. If your loved one feels sick for no reason or experiences aches and pains while a doctor can find no physical explanation, the underlying cause may be their mental illness.

  • Forgetfulness or inability to focus

Anxiety causes the mind to race with worry, and depression can make a person feel removed from the present. These disorders make it difficult to exist in the moment as those afflicted find themselves unable to focus on anything other than their worry or feelings of dread for past or future events.

  • Agitation

Depression and anxiety have intense effects on mood. They can make you more irritable and annoyed with those around you, and you may overreact to small inconveniences. If you notice your loved one having trouble controlling their emotions, continue to treat them with compassion and try not to take these outbursts personally as you open a discussion of seeking a diagnosis.

  • Irrational fears

A phobia is categorized as an extreme and irrational fear of something, and they are a significant aspect of many anxiety disorders. Though an individual who experiences a phobia may logically realize it is irrational, they are unable to control their fear. If you have a loved one who experiences a phobia, take the time to understand the situation from their point of view and be a source of comfort to them.

  • Panic Attacks

Experiencing frequent panic attacks is a prime indicator of an anxiety disorder. These attacks often stem from an irrational fear or a triggering event, and they leave the individual suffering from an assortment of physical reactions such as a racing heart or trouble breathing.

  • Recurring thoughts of death and/or suicide

A major hallmark of depression is reoccurring thoughts of death and/or suicide. If you or a loved one experiences intrusive thoughts regularly, this is a critical indicator to seek help from a medical professional.

How to Seek Help

Depression and anxiety are serious mental illnesses that can be fatal when left untreated. If you see these signs in a friend or family member, encourage them to get help, either by encouraging them to find treatment or by scheduling an appointment with a medical professional.

If these symptoms feel familiar, remember that you are not alone. There is always help. For more information on how to receive treatment for anxiety, depression, or another mental illness, contact us at Serenity Mental Health Centers to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed psychiatrists in your area.

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.