Depression Symptoms

A person with depression can have a variety of symptoms. These symptoms can also vary in their severity and how long they last.
Possible symptoms include:
  • A persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, and being "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.
If you have five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, you could have clinical depression and should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional for help.

How Is It Diagnosed?

There is no one specific test that can be used for diagnosing depression. Therefore, in order to make a definitive diagnosis, your healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions and will then perform a physical exam, looking for signs of conditions known to cause depression. There are no specific labs tests that can help in making a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will also consider other conditions that share a number of similar symptoms with depression.
(Click Diagnosing Depression to learn about conditions that share similar symptoms, as well as conditions known to increase the chances of developing the illness.)
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