Symptoms of Depression
The two key symptoms of depression are a depressed mood and loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed. Besides these two key symptoms, other symptoms include restlessness and irritability, thoughts of death or suicide, and feelings of hopelessness and pessimism. It is important to keep in mind that people suffering from depression cannot simply "pull themselves together." Without proper treatment, depression symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way one eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away.
A person with major depression can have a variety of symptoms. These symptoms can also vary in their severity and how long they last. However, if you have any of the symptoms discussed below for at least two weeks, you may have clinical depression.
Specific Depression Symptoms
Depression is identified by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. The two key symptoms of depression that are most often present when diagnosing the condition include:
- A depressed mood. This may be present as a persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood. In children, it may be expressed as an irritable mood.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed. This may include lack of interest in eating, social interactions, exercise, or sex.
Along with these two key symptoms, a person with depression can have a number of other symptoms in a variety of combinations. The specific combination of symptoms will vary depending on the individual.
These other possible depression symptoms are as follows:
- Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
- Decreased energy, fatigue, and being "slowed down"
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- Restlessness and irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, backaches, chronic pain, and digestive complaints (for example, indigestion, constipation, or diarrhea).