Sadness is a normal feeling to experience. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish regular sadness from true depression. Here are some signs that you or a loved one may be depressed.
Recognizing the symptoms is key. Unfortunately, about half the people who have depression never get it diagnosed or treated.
They can include:
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
- Pessimism and hopelessness
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or sleeping too much
- Loss of interest in things once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
- Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Your doctor will want to know:
- When your symptoms started
- How long they’ve lasted
- How severe they are
- If depression or other mental illnesses run in your family
- If you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
You’ll also be asked if you’ve had similar symptoms of depression before, and if so, how it was treated.
If your doctor rules out a physical cause for your symptoms, he may start you on a treatment or refer you to a mental health professional. This specialist will figure out the best course of treatment. That may include medicines (such as antidepressants), a type of therapy called psychotherapy, or both.