Signs & Effects of Depression

Red River Hospital helps individuals struggling with depression build a strong foundation for long-term recovery. Serving Wichita Falls, TX, Red River is the leading provider of depression treatment.

Understanding Depression

Learn about depression

Effecting people of all ages, depression is marked by feelings of sadness and hopelessness. While most people are familiar with these feelings, depressive disorders are unique in the level of impairment and decrease in functioning that defines them. While some depressive disorders vary in severity and the number of symptoms present, what is known is that a lack of treatment of the disorder can cause several areas of a person’s life to be disrupted as the sufferer’s mood often governs his or her daily activities.


Depression statistics

As much as 7% of the population is diagnosed with depression. It is estimated that the median age of onset is 32, and more women are affected than men. In terms of children and adolescents, 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 adolescents meet criteria for a depressive disorder diagnosis. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 15 of every 100 adults of advanced age, over 65, are diagnosed with a depressive disorder.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for depression

There are a number of widely accepted causes and risk factors for depression. While the combination of symptoms present during onset can vary from person to person, the following origins and risks of the disorder are often true for people diagnosed with a depressive disorder:

Genetic: Experts believe that a person’s genetic makeup can explain why an individual develops depression. Heritability accounts for 40% of depressive disorder diagnoses, especially when an individual has a first-degree family member with depression.

Physical: As the result of an imbalance in mood-regulating chemicals in the brain, depression symptoms can manifest in a person. Additionally, and as neuroimaging studies have shown, people with depressive disorders often have a unique structure to his or her brain. The brain structure differences in those with depression are known to cause not only chemical imbalances, but possess the ability to affect a person’s eating and sleeping habits, as well as his or her behaviors.

Environmental: Adverse life events, such as trauma or abuse, can bring about symptoms of depression. Because stress from these kind of events can cause a spike in certain brain chemicals, it has been found that brain chemistry can be altered and not return to its normal functioning if a person is exposed to or experiences extreme distress.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of depression
  • Family history of another mental disorder
  • History of substance abuse
  • Chronic stress
  • Lack of employment
  • Experiencing trauma
  • Poverty
  • Major life changes
  • Being female

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of depression

Signs and symptoms of a depressive disorder can vary amongst individuals. The severity and combination of symptoms should be taken into account for the purposes of determining the appropriate depressive disorder diagnosis. Concluding an appropriate depressive disorder diagnosis is beneficial because a person is better able to receive appropriate treatment that could alleviate his or her symptoms. The most common signs and symptoms of depression are as follows:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Self-injury
  • Difficulty managing responsibilities
  • Missing work or school
  • Isolation from friends and loved ones
  • Unwarranted emotional outbursts
  • Neurotic temperament

Physical symptoms:

  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Decreased energy
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Headaches or migraines

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Problems with memory
  • Delayed thinking
  • Struggles with decision-making
  • Inability to concentrate

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of intense sadness
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Being overly critical of oneself


Effects of depression

The utilization of medication, traditional therapy, and other therapeutic interventions has successfully helped alleviate the symptoms that individuals with depressive disorders experience, allowing them to move forward towards a happier life. Those that do not seek treatment, however, often experience the adverse effects of depression which can have a long-lasting negative impact on their lives. These adverse effects can include:

  • Problems with interpersonal relationships
  • Self-injury
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Elevated anxiety levels
  • Obesity
  • Substance abuse
  • Compromised immune system
  • Impairment at work or school
  • Obesity
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Lack of impulse control

Co-Occurring Disorders

Depression and co-occurring disorders

Other disorders can be ascribed to a person who is diagnosed with a depressive disorder. The following disorders can sometimes cause the development of or co-occur with depression:

  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Dementia
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline personality disorder

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We understand the many pressures, concerns, and frustrations that can accompany the effort to find the best treatment option, and we are dedicated to doing all that we can to make this a more efficient and effective process.

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