How To: Tell If Your Friend is Clinically Depressed


Remember how bad you felt when you bombed that paper you worked so hard on? Or when you got into a really awful fight with your BFF? Imagine that feeling – only a million times worse. And you can't shake it. That's how a person suffering from depression feels.

“Depression” is a broadly used term. People say they're depressed when they feel sad, overwhelmed, or disappointed…but how do we know if someone is clinically depressed or facing “Major Depression Disorder?” We've put together a list of symptoms of clinical depression. If you or someone you know shows signs of 5 or more of these, definitely encourage them to get help.


1. Loss of interest or pleasure in all – or nearly all –activities.

ex. It's Friday night aka the night you two always hang out, but they no longer want to. This has been happening consistently for a few months now.  They say they're not mad at you, just don't really feel like it. 


2. Significant increase or decrease in appetite/weight.

ex. Are they eating a lot more than usual? Are they eating a lot less than usual? Are they not eating at all?


3. Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping ALOT more than normal).

ex. Find out how they’re sleeping. Do they sleep for most of the day? Are they not sleeping at all?


4. Social withdrawal or isolation.

ex. Do they consistently make excuses to not hang out with their friends? Are they uncharacteristically quiet at school?


5. Intense fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

ex. Is this person skipping school a lot? Has he/she been avoiding doing homework?


6. Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness.

ex. Are they blaming themselves (to a point that's unreasonable) for everything bad that happens to them or around them? Have they stopped caring about keeping up their appearance – think no showers, teeth brushing, or hair combing.


7. Frequent thoughts of death or suicidal behavior.

ex. Have they expressed feelings of wanting to end their life or thoughts of death? If they ever tell you they are thinking about committing suicide, ask them about how they would do it and if they have a specific plan; do not leave them alone and notify an adult/doctor/policemen as soon as possible.


* If you have checked five or more symptom boxes: your friend or loved one is severely depressed and experiencing clinical depression.  Suggest professional help and notify an adult, doctor or psychologist immediately. Not sure where to start? Click here to find our hotline list.

Get the facts about depression. GO

Source: The Depression Cure by: Stephen S. Ilardi, Ph.D