Depressive disorder, often referred to as depression, is a complex condition. It is more complicated than feeling sad or just going through a tough time. Depression is a real mental health condition that is influenced by a combination of factors and needs to be taken seriously. When the right set of ingredients come together for someone, the symptoms of depression kick in and can be devastating if left untreated.
During depressive periods, people have feelings of sadness, numbness, or a lack of energy that can last days, weeks, or months. People may experience changes in sleeping, eating, or hygiene routines and may stop getting together with friends or going to work. They may also find that they are no longer interested in things they used to find enjoyable, such as hobbies.
Sometimes, individuals experiencing a depressive period may feel hopeless or that life is no longer worth living, which can come with suicidal thoughts. It is important to look out for suicidal thoughts in people with this condition. For more information on suicide, you can visit the suicide page.
It is likely that you know someone who has depression because of how common the condition is. Over 7% of the population in the US has experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year1. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression allows you to support those in your life who may live with this condition. You might be dealing with depression yourself, or you might know someone who is. Either way, help is available.
of the population in the US has experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression can affect individuals differently, but typically the symptoms affect how you feel, think, and handle activities of daily life. Symptoms are also usually present for more than two weeks. Some of these common symptoms include:
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
- Loss of energy
- Lack of concentration
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Feeling agitated or irritable
- Increased sense of guilt
- Changes in appetite or sleep — increase or decrease
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings and thoughts of wanting to die
- Self-harm or suicidal behavior
- National Institute of Mental Health: Depression Statistics.