Hopelessness or Depression

Head | Psychiatry | Hopelessness or Depression (Symptom)


The symptoms of depression can be complex and vary widely between people. But as a general rule, if individuals are depressed, they feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things they used to enjoy. The symptoms persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with work, social life and family life.

There are many other symptoms of depression.

Psychological symptoms include: continuous low mood or sadness, feeling hopeless and helpless, having low self-esteem, feeling tearful, feeling guilt-ridden, feeling irritable and intolerant of others, having no motivation or interest in things, finding it difficult to make decisions, not getting any enjoyment out of life, having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself, feeling anxious or worried.

Physical symptoms include: moving or speeking more slowly than usual, change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased), constipation, unexplained aches and pains

lack of energy or lack of interest in sex, changes to your menstrual cycle, disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning).

Social symptoms include: not doing well at work, taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends, neglecting your hobbies and interests, having difficulties in your home and family life.

Depression can come on gradually and so it can be difficult to notice that something is wrong. Many people continue to try to cope with their symptoms without realising they are ill. It can take a friend or family member to suggest that something is wrong.

Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression. Its where there are spells of depression and also of excessively high mood (mania). The depression symptoms are similar to clinical depression, but the bouts of mania can include harmful behaviour such as gambling, going on spending sprees and having unsafe sex.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is another type of depression. Also known as winter depression, SAD is a type of depression that has a seasonal pattern usually related to winter


Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. It is a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions, and a side effect of some medical treatments. Depressed mood is also a primary or associated feature of certain psychiatric syndromes such as clinical depression.