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Life is full of changes. Everyday events and our reactions to them sometimes interfere with our sense of well-being and peace of mind. It is common to get the blues or become sad when disappointed. Symptoms of depression are the most common medical problems seen by health professionals. It is estimated that feelings of depression will affect about one-third of all adults in the United States at some time in their lives.
Most people experience feelings of sadness over such losses as divorce or separation, the death of a friend or loved one, or a job change or layoff. These feelings are an expected reaction to a "triggering event," and most people get over them in time.
Several factors increase your risk of developing feelings of depression, such as:
Symptoms of depression that may point to a need for treatment vary from person to person. If you experience feelings of sadness or loss of interest in pleasurable activities plus 4 or more of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or longer, you may be depressed.
People who feel depressed may also have physical symptoms, such as body aches or stomach problems.
Because "mood swings" and other emotional changes are considered a normal part of growing up, depression in children and teens often goes unrecognized. Children and teens do develop depression, and it can affect a child's quality of life. If prolonged or severe depression is left untreated, it can lead to serious outcomes, including suicide attempts and even completed suicide. If you are thinking about suicide, talk to someone about your feelings, such as your health professional or a close friend or family member you trust. Don't wait. If you are not able to talk with your health professional immediately, call your local suicide hotline or this suicide hotline (Canada and U.S.): 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.
Depression is the most important risk factor for suicide. For more information, see the topic Depression.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.
Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
|Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.|
|Depression: Helping Someone Get Treatment|
|Depression: Supporting Someone Who Is Depressed|
|Stop Negative Thoughts: Getting Started|
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call911or other emergency services now.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
The risk of a suicide attempt is highest if:
Symptoms of depression may include:
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can affect your mood and cause symptoms of depression. A few examples are:
Symptoms of depression can also be caused by the use of or withdrawal from alcohol and illegal drugs.
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
If you are thinking about suicide, talk to someone about your feelings, such as your health professional or a close friend or family member you trust. Don't wait. If you are not able to talk with your health professional immediately, call your local suicide hotline or this suicide hotline (Canada and U.S.): 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.
Positive actions and feelings can help lift your spirits. Although thinking positively may be very difficult when you are feeling depressed, try to consider the positive side of situations and events in your life.
Appreciate any moments when you have positive thoughts. The following tips may help.
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:
If you think a friend or loved one is depressed, you may feel helpless. But there are still things you can do to help the person, such as talking with him or her about getting treatment. You can offer support and be a caring friend.
Life is full of changes. Everyday events and our reactions to them sometimes interfere with our sense of well-being and peace of mind. While it is common to get the "blues" or to feel sad occasionally, you may be able to prevent feelings of depression.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
Before seeing your health professional, it may be helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms. You can help your health professional diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:
|Mental Health America|
|2000 North Beauregard Street, 6th Floor|
|Alexandria, VA 22311|
|Phone:||1-800-969-NMHA (1-800-969-6642) referral service for help with depression|
Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) is a nonprofit agency devoted to helping people of all ages live mentally healthier lives. Its website has information about mental health conditions. It also addresses issues such as grief, stress, bullying, and more. It includes a confidential depression screening test for anyone who would like to take it. The short test may help you decide whether your symptoms are related to depression.
|National Suicide Prevention Lifeline|
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service. Crisis centers are located in 130 locations across the United States. Each caller is routed to the closest provider of mental health and suicide prevention services.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||David Messenger, MD|
|Last Revised||November 27, 2012|
Last Revised: November 27, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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