What Is Depression?
Depression is a disorder affecting mood and general outlook. Sometimes called “the blues,” it’s characterized by a loss of interest in activities or feeling sad and down. Even though most people feel sad or down for brief periods throughout life, clinical depression is more than just feeling sad. Depression is a serious medical condition and people usually aren’t able to just get over a depressive state. Talk to your doctor if you think you are suffering from depression or a major depressive disorder. People of any age and life situation can have depression.
Untreated depression can have lasting impacts, from employment issues, strain on relationships and drug and alcohol use, to suicidal thoughts or attempts. Most people go on to live healthy and happy lives with treatment. For some, depression is a lifelong challenge and must be considered and treated on a long-term basis.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
While the symptoms of depression can vary depending on the severity, there are some standard symptoms to watch for. Depression not only affects your thought and feelings, it can also impact how you act, what you say, and your relationships with others. Common symptoms include:
- trouble focusing or concentrating
- loss of interest in pleasurable or fun activities
- sleep issues (too much or too little)
- no energy
- craving unhealthy foods
- trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
- poor performance at work or school
- dropping out of activities
- suicidal thoughts or tendencies
- pain, like headaches or muscle aches
- drug or alcohol abuse
Some people also show signs of mania, psychotic episodes, or changes in motor abilities. These can signify other types of depression, like bipolar disorder.