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How to Tell If Someone Has Depression

When the news reports sad stories about suicide deaths of celebrities, questions quickly come to mind about how to tell if someone has depression. We hear questions like, “Didn’t anyone notice that he or she was depressed?” “Were suicidal thoughts voiced at one point or another, and not taken seriously?” “Wasn’t there something that could have been done to prevent such a tragedy?”

No one wants to be in the position of asking themselves these questions, but the extent of a friend or loved one’s depression is often difficult to recognize. We all have bad days from time to time, and often feel overwhelmed by our problems. So, how can you tell if someone is depressed?


Understand that depression is not a rare condition; the National Institute of Mental Health reports that over 17 million people in the United States attempt to cope with depression every year. Depression also knows no boundaries as it can affect anyone, at any age, of every race, sex, and financial circumstance.

Sad or stressful situations in life can trigger “feeling down” or “blue”, but those feelings do not necessarily indicate depression. The death of a loved one, going through a divorce, experiencing a job loss, or receiving bad new can cause one to feel temporarily depressed. However, if these feelings do not lessen over a reasonably short period of time, there may be a more significant problem at hand. If a depressed mood persists, intervention may be required, so everyone should know how to tell if someone is depressed.


  • Persistent, unrelenting feelings of sadness
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Feelings of being worthless or of helplessness
  • Changes in sleep patterns, too much sleep or not sleeping enough
  • Social isolation
  • Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Forgetfulness of problems with concentrating
  • Listlessness and loss of energy
  • Loss of hope, not looking to the future
  • Talk about death or dying
  • Giving away their possessions with no explanation

In children, depression can be evidenced by not wanting to go to school, being fearful and clinging to mom or dad, or constantly complaining about not feeling well. Teenagers will often take on the behavior of being rebellious, defiant or morose. They may retreat to their rooms, cease contact with friends and avoid social situations they once enjoyed.

Depression is never to be taken lightly, and symptoms indicative of depression should not be ignored. Family or friends might try to initiate a conversation with the person who may be depressed, but further evaluation is best made by a professional. However, it can be difficult to convince a depressed person to seek therapy, as the nature of depression itself can cause their feelings of apathy to override any hope of happiness. Scheduling a consultation with a family physician, who can then propose options to the individual and raise awareness of their condition, is often the first step to further treatment.


TMS Neuro Solutions is dedicated to helping those with depression in becoming whole again. When traditional methods such as medication and therapy are failing, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, an FDA approved treatment for depression, has been proven effective in alleviating depression in studies conducted both nationally and globally. Contact us today for more information.