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Different People May Experience Different Symptoms

There are a number of possible symptoms of depression. To be diagnosed with depression, a person must have several of these symptoms at once, including depressed mood, or loss of interest or pleasure in activities. It is not necessary that all depressed patients have all the same symptoms; studies have shown that people may experience the symptoms of depression in different ways. While one person may experience bodily aches and pains, another person may notice a sudden fluctuation in their weight or appetite. It's important to understand what the symptoms of depression are so the disease can be properly treated.

Signs and symptoms of depression may include1:

  • Depressed or irritable mood most of the day—nearly every day
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities (such as hobbies, work, sex, or being with friends) most of the day—nearly every day
  • A sudden change in weight or appetite
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Agitation or restlessness (observed by others)
  • Constant fatigue or lack of energy
  • Frequent feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Frequent thoughts of death or suicide

Important note: If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, seek professional help immediately through your healthcare professional or doctor, or call 411 to get the phone number for the nearest local suicide hotline.

You don't need to have all of these signs and symptoms to have depression. And remember that symptoms can vary from person to person. For instance, compared with depressed men, depressed women are more likely to experience guilt, weight gain, anxiety, eating disorders, or increased sleep. Depressed older adults tend to experience persistent sadness or "empty" moods.

If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of depression, consider taking a short self-assessment quiz. Also, be sure to seek the assistance of a healthcare professional so he or she can help determine if you should begin on a treatment regimen.

References: 1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TR (Text Revision). Washington, DC. American Psychiatric Association. 2000.


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