1 in 16 people in Australia are affected by depression every year, but many miss the warning signs. While traditional symptoms such a low mood and a feelings of hopelessness might be easy to recognise, there are other surprising (albeit common) signs that you or a loved one may be suffering from depression and not realise it.

Here are 10 symptoms of depression that you may not know about;

1) Increased anger and irritability is a common sign of depression, especially in men but also in women. You might notice that you are much more quick to anger, you may snap at colleagues or loved ones, or lie awake ruminating about events that happened that day. According to research, in a sample of people with major depression almost half also reported high levels of anger or irritability (De Bles et al, 2019).

2) Changes in sleep. Sleep changes during depression are extremely common and often the reason people present to their doctor for help. Sleep changes can include difficulty falling asleep and / or staying asleep (very often with early morning wakening) as well as sleeping more than usual or excessive sleepiness (even after a full night’s sleep).

3) Nothing feels enjoyable or good anymore. Anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure, is common in depression and it can feel impossible to enjoy the things you used to like food, conversations with friends, sex, or time with family. This can lead to a loss of interest in activities you might have once enjoyed.

4) Feeling numb or empty inside. It is a misconception that depressed people always feel sad. Some people describe a dark hole inside or they may struggle to feel anything at all.

6) A loss of libido or sex-drive. This is often related to the loss of pleasure and enjoyment mentioned earlier. Whilst changes in libido are normal, a decreased sex drive that differs from your typical pattern could be a sign of depression.

7) An increase in self-critical or negative thoughts. Depression means that we are more likely to see the world through dark tinted glasses. This can make you feel much more negative and critical towards yourself and others.

8) Feeling much more guilty than you normally would. Excessive guilt is often a sign you’re depressed and means you can feel guilt about all sorts of things that may necessarily appropriate to the situation.

9) Increased alcohol or drug use to escape. The feelings that come with depression are often terrible and many people have a strong desire to escape the pain and numb the feelings.

10) Low energy levels. Changes in your energy levels are normal, however, feeling too exhausted to do anything or having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning are a cause for concern and can make depression worse.

If any of these signs apply to you, then it may be time to reach out and ask for help. A good assessment by a psychologist or your doctor is the first step to getting help and starting to feel better.


  1. De Bles NJ, Ottenheim NR, Van Hemert A, Van der Does AJ, Penninx BW, Giltay EJ. Trait anger and anger attacks in relation to depressive and anxiety disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders, 2019; (259): 259-265.


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