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Depression (cont.)

Symptoms

The symptoms of depression may be hard to notice at first. They can be different from person to person. You may confuse them with just feeling "off" or "down." You also may confuse the symptoms with another health problem.

The two most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling sad, empty, or tearful nearly every day.
  • Losing interest in or not getting pleasure from most daily activities that you used to enjoy, and feeling this way nearly every day.

If you have felt this way for at least two weeks, it is possible you are experiencing depression.

A serious symptom of depression is thinking about death and suicide. If you or someone you care about talks about suicide or feeling hopeless, get help right away.

You also may:

  • Lose or gain weight. You may also feel like eating more or less than usual almost every day.
  • Sleep too much or not enough almost every day.
  • Feel restless and not be able to sit still, or you may sit quietly and feel that moving takes great effort. Others can easily see this behavior.
  • Feel tired or as if you have no energy almost every day.
  • Feel unworthy or guilty nearly every day. You may have low self-esteem and worry that people don't like you.
  • Find it hard to focus, remember things, or make decisions nearly every day. You may feel anxious or worried about things.

It's possible to have periods of both energy and elation (mania) and depression. This may be bipolar disorder. If this happens to you, tell your doctor. The treatments for depression and bipolar disorder are different.

Symptoms can vary

Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe:

  • In mild depression, you have few symptoms.
  • In moderate depression, you have more symptoms, and they are beginning to change your life.
  • In severe depression, the symptoms change your life and affect your job or career and your relationships.

Depression can affect your physical health. You may have headaches or other aches and pains or have digestive problems such as constipation or diarrhea. You may have trouble having sex or may lose interest in it. If you notice any of these changes, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to help.

A woman

One Woman's Story:

"I woke up every day with suicide on my mind, and I went to bed with suicide on my mind."—Martha

Read more about Martha and her symptoms.

Symptoms in older adults

Depression can make older adults confused or forgetful or cause them to stop seeing friends and doing things. It can be confused with problems like dementia.

Are you depressed?

If you think you may have depression, take a short quiz to check your symptoms:

Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?Click here to see an interactive tool.

Other types of depression

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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