6 Signs of Severe Depression

Hello, Psych2goers! I hope you’re doing well and taking care of yourselves.

Did you know that depression can occur in varying degrees, from mild, to moderate, to severe? In this article, we’ll be focusing specifically on some of the signs and symptoms of severe depression. As always, we want to remind you that this is for educational purposes only, and not meant to diagnose or to invalidate an individual experience not included on the list. If you do believe that you are suffering from severe depression, we encourage you to seek the help of a mental health professional.

With that said, here are 6 signs of severe depression.

1. Daily stomach pain

Do you wake up most days with a sinking feeling in your stomach? Does this pain make it difficult to function? Many conditions and illnesses can cause this, but severe depression is on the list. 

According to Healthline, research has shown that depression has strong links to inflammation of the digestive system. Not only does this mean that severe depression makes you more prone to stomach cramps and nausea, but also to bloating and other digestive problems (Fraga 2019).

If you can relate to this, we encourage you to seek the help of a medical professional to relieve your pain.

2. Your life feels on pause

Do you have a hard time getting things done throughout the day? Not just work, but also things like getting up to brush your teeth or take a shower?

Though some may perceive this as laziness, it might actually be a sign of severe depression. Healthline also explains that fatigue is a common sign of severe depression, and can leave feeling like no amount of sleep is ever enough (Fraga 2019).

If you can relate, remember that your worth is not measured by how much you get done in a day. Even if all you had the energy to do was take the day in, you are more than enough.

3. A growing apathy towards goals

Are you a person who usually dreams big? Have those dreams recently seemed less appealing or more out of grasp?

Apathy is a symptom of severe depression that is often overlooked, because it can manifest as contentment. But when a nonchalant attitude becomes an indifference to goals that used to mean a lot to you, it may be something worth paying attention to.

4. Mental breakdowns

Do you find yourself reacting unexpectedly to things that would usually only annoy you? Are you prone to mental breakdowns every now and again? 

According to the New Dimensions Day Treatment Center, a mental breakdown is “a combination of severe depression and anxiety” and can manifest in a variety of ways (New Dimensions). Some of these ways are panic attacks, rumination, helplessness, and so much more (New Dimensions). For a more comprehensive list of what a mental breakdown could look like, please feel free to visit the link in our references.

If you find yourself in the middle of a mental breakdown, remember that you aren’t alone. Though it may feel insurmountable, know that help is available, and that you are fully capable of getting through this.

5. Noticeable behavioral symptoms

Have your friends told you that you don’t seem yourself lately? One of the characteristics of severe depression is that many of behavioral symptoms are noticeable by others (Cherney 2018). In fact, the symptoms themselves may be indicative of a more milder form of depression, but the way it impacts your life could classify the depression as severe. Some of these symptoms could include fatigue, irritability, anger, substance abuse, reckless behavior and more.

However, like all of these signs, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. All experiences with depression are equally valid, and this is not to say that severity is solely dependent on the observations of people around you. Though no one may notice, you could still be suffering in silence with severe depression, and we don’t want to take anything away from your experience. We just want to point out that severe depression is more likely to be noticeable than other forms.

6. Hallucinations or delusions

Do you experience out-of-body experiences due to your depression, such as hallucinations or delusions?

This is known as Depressive Psychosis and can, in some cases, result from major depression. Examples of this can be hallucinations, paranoia, or delusions that interfere with your everyday life (Nall 2018). If you find yourself experiencing psychosis, know that help is available, and that seeking help is encouraged because altered perceptions of reality could impact your well-being in harmful ways.

We hope this helped you learn about some of the signs of severe depression. Could you relate? Did we miss anything? If you can relate, remember that you’re not alone. Help is out there, and we encourage you to seek professional help to aide in your recovery. Thanks for reading!


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