What Are the Symptoms of Major Depression?

Young woman with depression

You’re sad most days, have little energy after coming home from work and aren’t sleeping well. Is it because you’re working too many hours? Or you’re worried about an ill loved one? The answer could be any of those things, but you may also be experiencing symptoms of major depression.

What Is Major Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to various emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.” Thankfully, most of its symptoms are treatable with different therapies, including ketamine infusion.

What are the Symptoms of Major Depression?

Like other mental health disorders, depression features symptoms that overlap or appear like other conditions. In some cases, you may exhibit symptoms consistent with multiple kinds of depression. You may also suffer from other physical or medical conditions at the same time you’re battling depression.

While you may experience depression symptoms that differ from the next person, mental health professionals have identified the most common symptoms of depression. These include:

  • Lasting sadness, anxiety, or low moods
  • Lack of interest in nearly all activities
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Trouble sleeping, like the inability to sleep or sleeping too often
  • Slowed down physical movement, speaking, and thinking; nervousness; restlessness; and irritability
  • Low energy, being fatigued, or “run down” nearly every day
  • Continual feelings of insignificance and/or feelings of unnecessary guilt
  • Problems concentrating or making decisions
  • Repetitious thoughts of suicide or death, wishing you were dead or attempting suicide. If you’ve attempted suicide, please seek immediate medical care. Help is available.

If you experience five or more of the symptoms above for at least two weeks, you could be diagnosed with depression. These emotions are likely a visible change from “typical” for you and could be signs of a severe mental health issue. These kinds of symptoms may be easily confused with signs of another disorder, and you should never self-diagnose as a basis for seeking – or not seeking – mental healthcare.

Many of these symptoms can be successfully treated, allowing you to lead a healthy, productive life. 

What About Depression in Kids and Teens?

Depression isn’t limited to adults. Children and teens can exhibit symptoms, but with a few differences.

  • In younger kids, symptoms may include unhappiness, irritability, clinginess, concern, aches, discomfort, refusal to attend school, or weight problems.
  • In teens, watch for sadness, irritability, negativity, anger issues, poor school performance or attendance, feeling misjudged, extreme sensitivity, recreational use of drugs or alcohol, eating or sleep trouble, self-harm, and a lack of interest in normal life activities, and social avoidance.

Depression also Happens to Older Adults

Depression doesn’t normally happen as we grow older, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Sadly, depression is often undiagnosed and untreated in older Americans, and they may be reluctant to get help. Symptoms may include:

  • Memory problems or personality changes
  • Physical discomfort
  • Fatigue, lack of appetite, sleep trouble, or less interest in intimacy
  • Often insisting on staying at home rather than venturing out to socialize or try new things
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings, particularly in older males

Risk Factors

  • Biochemistry or variations in certain brain chemicals may lead to depression.
  • Depression likely runs in families. To wit, if one twin is depressed, there’s a 70 percent chance of the other getting the illness sometime in their lifetime.
  • People with poor self-esteem, who’s easily overcome by stress, or who are pessimistic primarily could be more at risk of getting depression.
  • Constant exposure to abuse, violence, neglect, or impoverishment may make you more susceptible to depression.

Diagnosis & Treatment

For decades, doctors and mental health specialists have relied on a two-pronged approach to diagnose depression:

  • A physical exam may include blood tests and other diagnostic procedures to discover or rule out an underlying condition as the cause of depression symptoms.
  • A psychiatric evaluation will performed to talk about your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. You may be asked to complete a self-assessment or questionnaire and asked questions about personal and family history of mental illness.

Results of either are often compared with criteria published in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition.

Final Thoughts

Everyone gets depressed occasionally, but when feelings of sadness, agitation, and low moods creep into everyday life, you may be experiencing symptoms of major depression. The World Health Organization calls depression a major force behind disability worldwide. Thankfully, depression can be treated with therapy, including innovative ketamine infusion.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you find relief.

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