Definition: Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness. It is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun.
Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.
Ron Ellis on depression:
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People do not all experience depression or symptons the same way. The duration and the severity of symptoms vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings, more than just temporary sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Hobbies and friends don’t interest you like they used to
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Fatigue and decreased energy, hard to get through the day
- Difficulty making decisions, concentrating, remembering details
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
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Please note: The above list is not exhaustive nor does having one or more of these symptoms mean that someone is depressed. It is merely a guide to possible depression symptoms. It is important to seek medical attention immediately to receive a diagnosis.
Sources: teenmentalhealth.org, National Institute of Mental Health, HealthGuide.org