Know the Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Everyone feels down at times. The blues are a natural part of life. But an unhappy period that's intense or lasts for more than a couple of weeks can be a sign of depression. Depression is a serious illness. It can disrupt the lives of family and friends. If you know someone you think may be depressed, find out what you can do to help.

Recognizing signs of depression

People who are depressed may:

  • Feel unhappy, sad, blue, down, or miserable nearly every day.
  • Feel helpless, hopeless or worthless.
  • Lose interest in hobbies, friends and activities that used to give pleasure.
  • Not sleep well or sleep too much.
  • Gain or lose weight.
  • Feel low on energy or constantly tired.
  • Have a hard time concentrating or making decisions.
  • Lose interest in sex.
  • Have physical symptoms, such as stomachaches, headaches or backaches.

Know the serious signals

Warning signals for suicide include:

  • Threats or talk of suicide.
  • Statements such as "I won't be a problem much longer" or "Nothing matters."
  • Giving away possessions or making a will or funeral arrangements.
  • Buying a gun or other weapon.
  • Sudden, unexplained cheerfulness or calm after a period of depression.

If you notice any of these signs, get help right away. Call a healthcare professional, mental health clinic or suicide hotline, and ask what action to take. In an emergency, don't hesitate to call the police.