Symptoms of Depression and Getting Help

Studies show that some 19 million people in the United States are living with depression. It can affect all aspects of our daily lives, including work, home and relationships. Many teens and adults develop this condition as a result of stress or other illnesses. The effects of depression on our lives can be devastating, especially when help is not sought.

What is Depression?

Depression is a disorder characterized by intense sadness, loss of interest in daily activities and feelings of helplessness. A doctor can diagnose depression in a person having 5 or more of the 9 characteristic symptoms of depression. Since depression is a lasting illness, the symptoms usually present over a period of two weeks or more. Depression can affect all aspects of your life, and is usually very noticeable and can affect the people around you as well. Though it may seem that things will never get better or there is nothing you can do, depression is a very treatable medical condition.


Many people experiencing illness find that a few or sometimes many of the depression symptoms apply to them.

• Eating or sleeping too much
• Eating or sleeping too little or not at all
• Feeling helpless- feeling powerless or that your situation is hopeless
• Lost interest- feeling apathetic towards you hobbies, friends or sexual activity
• Changes in weight- more than a 5% loss or gain within a month
• Lack of energy- often feeling tired, physical tasks have become exhausting
• Guilt- being harsh or overly critical of yourself, your thoughts and your actions
• Physical pain- recurring and unexplained muscle aches, cramps, headaches, etc.
• Irritability- having a short temper with everyone and everything

While many people with depression have a lot of the same symptoms, it is a medical condition and can only be properly diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Getting Help

Many people avoid seeking treatment for different reasons such a social stigmas, feeling that they are beyond help, or feeling that they can overcome depression alone. Clinical depression is a very serious illness, and needs to be treated in order to prevent further downslide into a major depressive disorder. Prescribed by a doctor, there are medications that can ease the symptoms of depression. Treatments like counseling and therapy can help to work through the causes and overcome depression.

Depression affects your mood, home life, work life, attitude towards family and friends and every other aspect of daily life. It can feel as though there is no hope, when in fact it is very treatable. The most important thing to remember when dealing with depression is to ask for help.

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