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Do I Have Depression?

Overview

Read the following information to help you decide whether you might have depression. It does not take the place of a doctor's diagnosis.

Depression causes you to feel sad or 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 doctor for diagnosis and treatment right away. Untreated depression may get worse.

You may have major depression if you have at least five of the symptoms listed below for 2 weeks or longer and one 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.

If you have fewer symptoms, you may still be depressed and need treatment. No matter how many symptoms you have, it's important to see your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chance for a quick and full recovery.

A serious symptom of depression is thinking about death and suicide. If you or someone you care about talks about suicide or feeling hopeless, get help right away. Learn the warning signs of suicide, which include talking a lot about death, giving things away, or using a lot of alcohol, drugs, or both.

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 doctor. You may need treatment.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that all people, starting at age 12, be screened for depression by their doctor. Screening for depression helps find depression early. And early treatment may help people recover faster.

Credits

Current as of: February 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health

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