Q: I feel sad and life seems bleak, I think I may be depressed, what are the signs of depression?

A: This is a common question this time of year with the cold, dark weather, and limited outdoor activity. A change in feelings is normal with the change of seasons. Listed below are the most common symptoms of depression, however, please know that just because you or someone you know is experiencing some of these symptoms, this does not mean you or they are clinically depressed. This can only be determined by an evaluation with a Counselor, other mental health professional or Doctor.

Common Signs of Depression are:

  • Prolonged sadness, unexplained crying spells, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, such as biking, swimming, or sex
  • Loss of energy, persistent tiredness, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Decrease or loss of appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, Irritability, anger, worry, or anxiety
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Right now you might be saying,"That's me (or my child/husband/friend)." You need to know that some depression is normal and everyone experiences some depression from time to time. For someone to have clinical depression, the symptoms must be "Persistent and affect normal activities." However, if you do notice that you have some of these symptoms, and they are not going away, it could be helpful to speak with a mental health professional or get a check-up with your doctor.

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