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Do I Have Depression?

Depression causes you to feel sad and hopeless much of the time. It's different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy. Depression is a medical problem that needs treatment. If you think you may be depressed, see your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment right away. Untreated depression may get worse.

Symptoms of depression

You may have major depression if you have at least five of the symptoms listed below for 2 weeks or longer and 1 of the symptoms is either sadness or loss of interest. You may:

  • Feel sad, hopeless, or empty. Others might have noticed that you appear sad or tearful.

  • Lose interest in or not get pleasure from most daily activities.

  • Lose or gain weight because of changes in how hungry you feel.

  • Sleep too much or not enough.

  • Feel restless and not able to sit still, or sit quietly and feel that moving takes great effort.

  • Feel tired all the time.

  • Feel unworthy or guilty for no reason. You may worry that people don't like you.

  • Find it hard to focus, remember things, or make decisions.

  • Have thoughts of death, or thoughts about hurting yourself.

Types of depression

There are several types of depression that may have different symptoms and patterns. These include:

  • Major depressive disorder (MDD). This is diagnosed when someone meets the criteria above.

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). People who have seasonal affective disorder are depressed only at a certain time each year, usually in the fall and winter months.

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Women who have regular and severe emotional and physical premenstrual symptoms that interfere with daily life may have PMDD. This is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but has symptoms that are more severe.

  • Persistent depressive disorder (chronic mild depression, previously called dysthymia). This occurs when a person has only 2 to 4 symptoms of depression for a period of at least 2 years.

  • Double depression. This occurs when a person with persistent depressive disorder also has an episode of major depression.

  • Adjustment disorder with depression. Sometimes a stressful situation can cause temporary symptoms of depression that improve once the crisis is resolved.

If you think you have depression after reviewing this list, talk with your health care provider. If your depression is related to a health problem, such as hypothyroidism, treating the disease usually cures the depression. Substance abuse also may cause depression that is cured when the substance abuse is stopped. Substance abuse also can be a sign of depression.

If you have just lost someone you care about, you may have symptoms similar to those of depression. Feelings of sadness, sorrow, and grief are normal. And most people start to feel better over several months. But if you feel very sad or depressed, your symptoms don't go away, or you think about killing or hurting yourself, see your health care provider. You may need treatment.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all people, starting at age 12, be screened for depression. 

Do you have thoughts about suicide?

If you or a loved one has thoughts about death or suicide, call 911 or the Veterans Crisis Line at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) and press 1, or use other emergency services. Or you can chat with a trained counselor online at www.VeteransCrisisLine.net.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 7/1/2018
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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