Q. How to know if someone is depressed?

Answered by
Dr. Bharat Udey
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 29, 2017

Hi doctor,

How do you decide if someone has depression or any other mental disease? How to differentiate it from mental retardation? Can it be the reason that he or she does not find anything interesting or exciting enough?



Welcome to

  • Depression is basically an affective disorder affecting the emotional tone of an individual. Along with this, it also causes impairment of cognition and other higher mental functions. It is important to identify depression as early as possible so that effective measures can be taken for recovery of the person having the same.
  • The characteristic features of depression are:
  1. Low mood or sad mood can be associated with easy irritability, which is persisting for the most of the day and is pervasive as well.
  2. Low energy levels as compared to previous self, associated with easy fatiguability without any underlying physical illness.
  3. Loss of interest in normal day to day routine work as compared to previous self.
  4. Loss of interest in pleasurable activities, which one used to perform previously.
  5. Lack of self-confidence associated with low self-esteem.
  6. Pessimistic views about self or family or future.
  7. The person may feel guilty for the misdeeds happened to him or his family.
  8. Easy forgetfulness about daily activities associated with difficulty to concentrate on daily activities.
  9. Wish to end self, associated with planning for same or acts of self-harm in the past.
  10. Disturbed biological functioning, that is, disturbed sleep, early awakenings, reduced appetite may or may not be associated with apparent weight loss.
  11. Loss of interest in sexual activities, like reduced frequency and complete avoidance of the same.
  • All of these or most of these symptoms when persisting for longer than two weeks and are associated with marked distress and dysfunction for a person, then we can call it a depressive episode.
  • As such a depressive episode has nothing to do with a person intelligence. However, an educated person may identify his or her symptoms due to increased awareness for same due to his or her education status. Otherwise, intelligence has no role in causing depression.

Thank you.

For more information consult a psychiatrist online -->

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