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Recognising symptoms

Being depressed can show itself in different ways. It commonly affects how you feel, how you see yourself and your relationships with other people.

Experiencing a number of the symptoms below on most days over the past month or more suggests you, or your relative, could need help:

  • feeling tired most of the time
  • sleeping badly - difficulty getting to sleep or waking up early and being unable to go back to sleep
  • loss of appetite or eating more than usual
  • weight change over a relatively short time – loss or gain
  • experiencing physical aches and pains and unfounded fears of serious illness
  • feeling apathetic and unable to enjoy things you normally enjoy
  • distancing yourself from people, particularly those close to you
  • being reluctant to engage in usual activities or leave your house
  • losing confidence in yourself and feeling life is pointless
  • being self-critical and feeling guilty
  • being unable to concentrate
  • feeling anxious
  • having suicidal thoughts

Symptoms that also suggest a physical illness – such as tiredness, weight loss, problems sleeping and aches and pains - tend to be more typical in older people who are depressed and can disguise an underlying depression.

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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