It’s normal to feel down and demotivated when you’re going through tough times. If you’ve been dealing with financial difficulties, legal troubles, the loss of a loved one, unstable housing, family problems, or other hardships, it takes a toll on your mental and emotional health.
But clinical depression is more than feeling sad, lonely, or upset. It interferes with daily life, prevents you from striving for success, often causes physical symptoms, and can last for months or longer. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of; it’s a serious and common illness.
Treating depression is tricky, but it’s treatable. And treating it matters. It’s practically impossible to enjoy or improve your life when held back by depression. Also, it’s a potentially life-threatening condition, with one in 10 people who suffer from depression committing suicide.
Finding treatment means first recognizing the problem. A trained professional has to make the diagnosis, but if you know the signs and symptoms, you should be able to recognize depression in yourself or a loved one.
Below is a list of the most common major signs and symptoms of clinical depression. If several apply to you, a friend, or a family member, depression may be the cause. Seek (or encourage your loved one to seek) a diagnosis and treatment—which usually includes a combination of counseling and medication—from a professional.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
- Loss of interest in socializing, hobbies, sports, sex, or other enjoyable activities
- Loss of motivation at school or work
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Feeling like you’re in a fog or excessive daydreaming
- Overeating or loss of appetite/sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Newly neglecting fitness, health, or personal hygiene
- Chronic fatigue or low energy
- Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
- Anxiety, irritability, anger, frustration, mood swings
- Chronic headaches or neck aches
- Other unexplained aches and pains
- Profound or persistent thoughts of worthlessness, self-hatred, or guilt
- Profound or persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
- Alcohol or drug dependency
- Reckless behavior/disregard for personal safety
- Suicidal thoughts or obsessive thoughts about death
If You or a Loved One Are Considering Suicide
Suicide is a very real risk with clinical depression. If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, or if you know someone who has been talking about it, please act right away to save a life. For immediate help, call one of these two suicide hotlines:
- 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
- 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)