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Depression Health Center

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What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

Everyone at one time or another has felt depressed, sad, or blue. Feeling depressed is a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But sometimes the feeling of sadness becomes intense, lasting for long periods of time and accompanied by other physical symptoms (such as low energy, disrupted sleep, and appetite changes) that prevent a person from leading a normal life. This is clinical depression, a mental illness that, if left untreated, can worsen, lasting for years and causing untold suffering, and possibly even result in suicide. It is important to recognize the signs of depression and seek help if you or your loved one is exhibiting depression symptoms.

Symptoms of clinical (or major) depression can include:

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive mental health services, including screening tests for depression and alcohol misuse, at no cost to you. Learn more.

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  • Sadness most of the day nearly every day
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Uncontrollable crying
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Irritability
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Insomnia or inability to sleep
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Stomachache and digestive problems
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Sexual problems
  • Headache
  • A change in appetite causing weight loss or weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Attempting suicide

Warning Signs of Suicide

If you or someone you know shows any of the following warning signs, contact a mental health professional right away or go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

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

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 11, 2014

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