Most of us have had short periods of time where we've felt depressed. We've felt sad for no particular reason, lost our motivation for doing things we generally enjoy, just felt tired and "heavy". For most of us, this feeling will last just a few hours or maybe for a few days. But for some, depression is something that comes and goes, and lasts long enough to cause problems in functioning.
Depression can be a serious illness. Major depression, which should be diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional, consists of several severe symptoms which have been present for a period of at least 2 weeks. Those symptoms include at least one of the following:
and at least four of the following:
Loss of interest in activities that would usually be pleasurable
Significant weight loss or gain
trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Fatigue, loss of energy, or tired all the time
Worthless or guilty feelings
Impaired concentration and difficulty making decisions
Restless feelings and inability to sit still or slow down
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
To be classified as indicative of major depression, these symptoms must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning. If you suspect you suffer from major depression, please consult your physician or a licensed psychotherapist right away, especially if you feel at all suicidal.
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