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Understanding Depression -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

For major depression, you may experience five or more of the following symptoms for at least a two-week period:

  • Persistent sadness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, including sex
  • Difficulty concentrating and complaints of poor memory
  • Worsening of co-existing chronic disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue, lack of energy
  • Anxiety, agitation, irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Slow speech; slow movements
  • Headache, stomachache, and digestive problems

In children and adolescents, symptoms of depression may include:

Understanding Depression

Find out more about depression:

Basics

Symptoms

Diagnosis and Treatment

Prevention

  • Insomnia, fatigue, headache, stomachache, dizziness
  • Apathy, social withdrawal, weight loss
  • Drug abuse or alcohol abuse, a drop in school performance, difficulty concentrating
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • For dysthymia, symptoms are less intense and fewer in number, but last longer.

 

Call Your Doctor About Depression If:

  • You or a loved one have suicidal thoughts, or have other signs of either major depression or dysthymia; help is available.
  • You are considering alternative or complementary treatments for depression. It's important that your doctor be aware of all aspects of your treatment.

NOTE: There is a distinct difference between feeling just sad or "depressed" and having a “clinical” depressive illness. If you have low spirits for a while, don't necessarily be concerned. However, if you feel you can't lift yourself out of your misery, or begin to notice other physical symptoms such as changes in sleep, appetite or energy, seek help.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on March 29, 2013

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