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Characteristics of Depressed People

author image Barbara Aufiero
Barbara Aufiero has been writing health-related articles since 2008, specializing in mental health and health insurance. Aufiero resides in New York and holds a Master of Arts in psychology.
Characteristics of Depressed People
Headaches are common in depressed people. Photo Credit stressed face image by Julia Britvich from <a href="http://www.fotolia.com">Fotolia.com</a>

Depression is a common mental health condition that can have serious consequences if left untreated. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States among people who are aged 15 to 44. Symptoms of depression can be emotional, cognitive, behavioral and somatic. As such, there are many characteristics indicative of depression.


Fatigue is a crippling component of depression that can drastically diminish a person's energy level. Depressed people tend to tire easily, even from routine activities, such as talking a walk or making the bed. As such, they tend to avoid activities that require much exertion. They also complain of being too tired to do anything. Headaches, backaches and stomach pain are common somatic symptoms of depression.


Depressed people often isolate themselves from others, physically and emotionally. They may prefer to stay home alone instead of going out with friends. Even when they are in the company of others, they may avoid participating in conversations or activities. They generally keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves so as not to let others know they are feeling down. This can lead to relationship problems.

Lack of Interest

Depressed people become apathetic toward activities in life that were once the source of pleasure and enjoyment, such as sports or hobbies. They may often report not being "in the mood" for things they once looked forward to, such as sex. Severely depressed people may think about death or contemplate suicide. According to the Suicide website, untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.

Changes in Appearance

Maintaining the appearance may become less important to depressed people. The effort and energy that was once put into grooming and dressing significantly decreases. Showering may no longer occur daily; hair may go uncut for months. They may wear the same clothes day after day, despite wrinkles or stains. Clothing may become too tight or too loose due to changes in weight associated with depression. Also, dark circles and bags may appear under their eyes from lack of sleep.


The negative thinking associated with depression leads to a great decline in mood. Self-esteem and self-confidence are generally low among depressed people, due to self-loathing. Adults typically feel sad, hopeless and insignificant, whereas the mood of depressed teenagers is predominantly irritable, according to the Help Guide website. As such, depressed teenagers may appear hostile while adults suffering from depression are also sad and withdrawn.


Depressed individuals experience difficulty paying attention and concentrating. They may have trouble recalling information from memory or retaining new information. According to the AARP website, depression can cause memory dysfunction by interfering with the ability to process information and concentrate. However, increases in mood lead usually led to decreases in cognitive deficits among depressed patients.

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