Q:

How do you know if you have depression?

A:

Quick Answer

There are a variety of depressive disorders, but signs and symptoms include feelings of hopelessness, fatigue and loss of interest in activities that the depressed person once enjoyed. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a common illness that can strike at any time, and which may recur.

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Full Answer

While the list of signs and symptoms is a long one, if a person experiences one or more for an extended period, he may be depressed and need to seek a physician's help. To begin to identify a depressive disorder, self-assessment is needed. Symptoms of depression include persistent feelings of sadness, pessimism, guilt, helplessness and worthlessness.

Depressive disorders may also result in periods of irritability, a decrease in energy levels, and fatigue. Someone suffering from depression often has trouble sleeping, experiencing insomnia and waking prematurely from sleep. The opposite may also occur, leading the depressed individual to sleep excessively.

Depression often interferes with eating habits as well, causing a loss in appetite or overeating. It also sometimes results in digestive problems. Physical symptoms may also occur, such as headaches, cramps, and aches and pains. Among the most worrying symptoms are suicidal thoughts or attempts at suicide, and professional help should be sought immediately if these occur.

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