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    Symptoms of Depression

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    Do you have symptoms of clinical depression? Sure, most of us feel sad, lonely, or depressed at times. And feeling depressed is a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But when these feelings become overwhelming, involve physical symptoms, and last for long periods of time, they can keep you from leading a normal, active life. That's when it's time to seek medical help. Your primary care doctor is a good place to start. This doctor can screen you for depression and help manage your symptoms.

    If left untreated, symptoms of clinical or major depression may worsen and last for months or sometimes even years. They can cause untold suffering and possibly lead to suicide. Recognizing the symptoms of depression is often the biggest hurdle to the diagnosis and treatment of clinical or major depression. Unfortunately, approximately half the people who experience symptoms never do get diagnosed or treated for their illness.

    Not getting treatment can be life threatening. More than one out of every 10 people battling depression commits suicide.

    What Are Symptoms of Depression?

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

    • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
    • Fatigue and decreased energy
    • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
    • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
    • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
    • Irritability, restlessness
    • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
    • Overeating or appetite loss
    • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
    • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
    • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

    Are There Warning Signs of Suicide With Depression?

    Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) or 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) -- or the deaf hotline at 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889).

    Warning signs of suicide with depression include:

    • A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
    • Always talking or thinking about death
    • Clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
    • Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
    • Losing interest in things one used to care about
    • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
    • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
    • Saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
    • Talking about suicide (killing one's self)
    • Visiting or calling people one cares about

    Remember, if you or someone you know is demonstrating any of the above warning signs of suicide with depression, either call your local suicide hot line, contact a mental health professional right away, or go to the emergency room of your local hospital for immediate evaluation and treatment.

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