Before moving on from my discussion of depression to write about other disorders, including bipolar illness and anxiety disorders, I wanted to present the following list of symptoms for Major Depressive Disorder, or clinical depression. This information comes from the National Institute of Mental Health. It is a very concise list of symptoms, many of which I’ve talked about in previous writings. I want to include it because this information is essential in understanding and, thus, treating depression.
- Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
- Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Restlessness or irritability
- Sleeping too much, or can’t sleep
- Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
- Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
While a diagnosis of major depression involves having a number of these symptoms, anyone who has even some of them would benefit from seeking help.