Read the following information to help you decide whether you might have depression. It does not take the place of a doctor's diagnosis.
Depression causes you to feel sad and hopeless much of the time. It's different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy. Depression is a medical problem that needs treatment. If you think you may be depressed, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment right away. Untreated depression may get worse.
You may have major depression if you have at least five of the symptoms listed below for 2 weeks or longer and one of the symptoms is either sadness or loss of interest. You may:
A serious symptom of depression is thinking about death and suicide. If you or someone you care about talks about suicide or feeling hopeless, get help right away.
Learn the warning signs of suicide, which include talking a lot about death, giving things away, or using a lot of alcohol, drugs, or both. If you see these signs in yourself or a loved one, get help.
If you think you may have depression, take this short quiz to check your symptoms:
If you have fewer symptoms, you may still be depressed and need treatment. No matter how many symptoms you have, it's important to see your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chance for a quick and full recovery.
There are several types of depression that may have different symptoms and patterns. These include:
If you think you have depression after reviewing this list, print the list and circle those symptoms that you have. Take the list to your doctor.
If your depression is related to a health problem, such as hypothyroidism, treating the disease usually cures the depression. Substance abuse also may cause depression that is cured when the substance abuse is stopped. Substance abuse also can be a sign of depression.
If you have just lost someone you care about, you may have symptoms similar to those of depression. Feelings of sadness, sorrow, and grief are normal. And most people start to feel better over several months. But if you feel very sad or depressed, your symptoms don't go away, or you think about killing or hurting yourself, see your doctor. You may need treatment.
For more information, see the topic Depression.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for depression in adults: Recommendation statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf09/adultdepression/addeprrs.htm.
- U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for Major Depressive Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Recommendation Statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf09/depression/chdeprrs.htm.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry|
|Last Revised||January 11, 2013|
Last Revised: January 11, 2013
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