signs of depression
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
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
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 Prevention of Relapse
updated by Harvard Medical School in November 2009.