Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. If symptoms last more than a few weeks, it's time to reach out for help because depression may not go away by itself.
The following list of symptoms may help you to get a sense of whether you or someone you know might be suffering from depression. Please be aware that not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom and that several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression. Nevertheless, people with only a few but distressing symptoms may benefit from treatment of their "subsyndromal"depression.
Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
Decreased energy or fatigue
Moving or talking more slowly
Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Appetite and/or weight changes
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.
Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two.
Evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and problem solving therapy. I use these evidence-based approaches routinely in my practice to help people cope and heal.