Everyone at one time or another has felt depressed, sad, or blue. Being 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 preventing a person from leading a normal life. This is 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.
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Loss of enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable
- Difficulty concentrating
- Uncontrollable crying
- Difficulty making decisions
- Increased need for sleep
- Insomnia or inability to sleep
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Stomachache and digestive problems
- Decreased sex drive
- Sexual problems
- A change in appetite causing weight loss or weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide (killing one's self)
- 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
National Institute of Mental Health: "What are the signs and symptoms of depression?"
Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 15, 2012
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