Major Depression

Art by Chrysti as healing for depression

Everyone feels down once in a while, perhaps due to a week at work not going well or a problem in a relationship. Major depressive disorder, also known simply as “depression,” is an ongoing illness involving despair so severe and so chronic that it can take away someone’s desire to enjoy time with friends, to get out of bed for weeks, or, in extreme cases, to go on living.

In any given year, over 20 million American adults suffer from depression. Here are some symptoms that, taken in aggregate, may indicate that someone has major depressive disorder:

Symptoms of Depression (from the DSM-IV manual)

  • Consistently feeling hopeless, extremely sad, guilty or worthless
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Trouble sleeping and/or waking up
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty focusing during the day
  • Unintended shifts up or down in weight
  • Declining physical health
  • Thoughts of suicide

Frequently someone with depression doesn’t realize these symptoms might be the result of a medical condition. If you think you may have depression, know that doctors or mental health professionals may be able to help.

If you need immediate help or if you are having thoughts of death or suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK or if you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room.

Major Depression

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