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signs of depression

Message 1002

Recognizing Signs of Depression

While everyone feels sad at times, depression is more severe and long lasting. It is more than a passing bout of sadness, or feeling down in the dumps. It can’t be lifted at will or wished or joked away.

Being depressed is not a personal weakness. Changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters can affect your moods and thoughts. These chemical changes often are caused by genes you have inherited, and can cause depression symptoms -- including poor sleep and appetite, irritability, exhaustion, or not caring about anything.
Brain chemicals aren’t the whole story, though. Stressful life events (such as the death of a loved one or losing a job) and being isolated from family or friends can trigger depression.

Every year, about 1 in 10 adults will suffer some form of depression. A person’s depressive episodes affect many people, harming relationships between depressed people and their family and friends. Those injured relationships then can lead to isolation that makes the depression worse. It can become a vicious circle.

However, depression is getting easier to treat. Drugs targeted at specific changes in brain chemistry can shorten otherwise crippling episodes of depression. Skilled therapists can help people learn to manage problems better. A combination of drugs and therapies can increase the chance of successful treatment.

If you think you may be depressed, don’t suffer in silence. Call your doctor as soon as possible so you can get the help you need. If you intend or have a plan to commit suicide, go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

Stay Healthy, Get Informed
Read more about depression.

Depression Definition
Depression Symptoms
Depression Tests
Depression Treatment
Depression Prevention of Relapse

Reviewed and updated by Harvard Medical School in November 2009.

Source: Harvard Medical School, Copyright © 2008 by President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved.

This information from Harvard Medical School (HMS) is intended to help protect and improve your health.
The information is applicable to people like you, but it may or may not be appropriate for you, personally.
To determine if it is, you should discuss this information with your doctor.

© 2008 Resolution Health, Inc. All Rights Reserved.