Learn to identify depression

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The word "depression" is often thrown around quite easily.

We all feel sad or down from time to time due to everyday life situations. Sometimes people use the word “depressed” to describe their feelings of sadness or disappointment. But depression entails more than just everyday sadness.

If your sadness lasts more than just a couple of days and starts to overtake your everyday life, you may be suffering from depression.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 19 million Americans suffer from depression. According to the CDC, 10 to 25 percent of women and five to 12 percent of men will become clinically depressed at some point in their lives.

Common Symptoms of Depression

Learn to know the symptoms of depression in order to seek help.

  • Loss of interest in activities. You may start to lose interest in your regular hobbies, pastimes or social activities. You may not want to socialize with people. Things you normally find pleasure in may now feel more like a burden.
  • Insomnia or extreme sleepiness. You can't sleep because of stress or overwhelming sadness, or you wake up in the early hours of the morning. Others may experience over-sleepiness. In any case, you may feel like you cannot get a good night’s sleep.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy. Continuous feelings of fatigue or sluggishness can be signs of depression. Your body may feel heavy, and even small tasks can feel exhausting. Your thinking may feel slower, as well as your reactions and movements.
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness. If things in your life start to go wrong, you may start to blame yourself. You may harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes. You might even blame your sadness or the fact that you are not happier on yourself.
  • Diminished ability to concentrate. Depression can affect your ability to focus, make decisions or remember things. You may have a hard time concentrating, or you may have difficulty completing certain tasks.
  • Weight changes. Significant weight loss or gain can be a sign of depression. You may lose interest in eating, or you may overeat due to frustration or misery. A change of more than 5 percent of body weight in a month can be a warning sign.

Remember, the severity of symptoms can vary among individuals and over time. Some people may experience only a few symptoms. When these symptoms seem overwhelming, disabling or long-lasting, it is time to seek depression treatment.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

 
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