Depression is a mood disorder that affects how people feel, think, and behave. It often causes feelings of sadness, loss, worthlessness, guilt, anger, and anxiety. People with depression may also experience physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, and difficulty concentrating.
About 7 percent of U.S. adults have major depressive disorder, while many more may have symptoms of depression or an undiagnosed mental health condition.
Here are five signs that you may have depression:
- Feeling sad or hopeless most days. If you notice yourself feeling sad or hopeless most days, talk to your doctor. He or she can help determine if you have depression and what treatment options might be right for you. You may want to consider seeing a therapist who specializes in treating mental health issues. A therapist can help you learn ways to cope with stress and manage negative thoughts.
- Having trouble eating or sleeping. Sometimes depression can manifest in very physical ways, such as a loss of appetite or trouble sleeping. Most people experience periods of insomnia or some minor weight loss or gain. However, if your symptoms are extreme or last longer than a few weeks, it could be a sign of an underlying mental health condition such as depression.
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy. Apathy is one of the major symptoms of depression, especially if you are experiencing a loss of interest for activities that used to bring you joy. If the thought of social activities or hobbies feels exhausting and difficult to get excited about for weeks at a time, you could be experiencing depression.
- Experiencing concentration issues at work or school. Depression can lead to the phenomenon of “brain fog,” or sense of distraction. It can be difficult to feel motivated at work or school and challenging to stay focused on a task or on retaining information. If you notice these symptoms persist, it is a good idea to talk to a mental healthcare provider.
- Suicidal thoughts. Some individuals with depression experience suicidal ideation. If you notice yourself feeling sad or having thoughts about suicide, talk to someone you trust. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The hotline provides 24/7 support from certified crisis counselors who can help connect you with local resources.