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Know the Symptoms of Depression

Everyone feels down at times. The blues are a natural part of life. But an unhappy period that’s intense or lasts for more than a few weeks is different. It can be a sign of depression. Depression is a serious illness. It's not a sign of weakness. It's not a character flaw. And it's not something you can just snap out of. Most people with depression need treatment to get better. Depression can disrupt the lives of family and friends. If you know someone who may be depressed, find out what you can do to help.

Two women talking outdoors.

Symptoms of depression

People who are depressed may:

  • Feel unhappy, sad, blue, down, or miserable almost every day

  • Feel helpless, hopeless, or worthless

  • Lose interest in hobbies, friends, and activities that used to give pleasure

  • Not sleep well or sleep too much

  • Gain or lose weight

  • Feel low on energy or always tired

  • Have a hard time focusing or making decisions

  • Lose interest in sex

  • Have physical symptoms, such as stomachaches, headaches, or backaches

Know the serious signs

Never ignore a person's comments about suicide. Or behaviors that can lead to self-harm. Warning signs for suicide include:

  • Threats or talk of suicide. Talk of harming themselves or others.

  • Saying things such as “I won’t be a problem much longer” or “Nothing matters.”

  • Giving away their things. Or making a will or funeral plans.

  • Buying a gun or other weapon.

  • Sudden, unexplained cheerfulness or calm after a period of depression.

If you see any of these signs, get help right away. Call a healthcare provider, mental health clinic, or suicide hotline. Ask what you should do. In an emergency, call 911.

Resources:

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Paul Ballas MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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