Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is more than just everyday sadness or going through a tough time. It’s diagnosed as a medical condition when symptoms interfere with a person’s life for weeks or months. Depression is treatable, and there are ways to feel better.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know may be dealing with depression, you’re not alone. Learning more about the condition and the ways it can be effectively treated can make the situation feel less overwhelming.
What is Depression?
Over seven million people have watched this five-minute animated video from Ted-Ed that explains symptoms, treatments and tips for helping a friend with depression.
Types of Depression
This article and an accompanying video walks through seven types of depression including major depression, seasonal affective disorder and postpartum depression.
Signs of Depression
This video from Psych2Go highlights eight signs that you or someone you care about may be experiencing clinical depression.
Signs and Symptoms
Here are some common signs of clinical depression that may require support and treatment. Remember, the earlier you’re diagnosed and start treatment, the sooner you can start feeling better and getting back to your life.
Persistently feeling sad, anxious, irritable or “empty.”
Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, withdrawal from friends and family.
Changes in Routines
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much. Significant change in appetite and/or weight.
Overreacting to criticism or arguments. Feeling unable to meet other people’s expectations.
Headaches, digestive problems or chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment.
Difficulty showing up on time, concentrating, focusing, remembering details and making decisions.
Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt. Thinking about, planning or attempting suicide.
We all feel sad from time-to-time, and it can be hard to tell the difference between normal feelings of sadness and the mental health condition of depression. Either way, it’s best to take action to learn what’s going on and find ways to feel better.
Trying to figure out how to deal with emotional struggles while we’re actually experiencing them can be challenging. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a minute to breathe, move, meditate or even make a gratitude list to help manage those feelings. Headspace offers a range of free videos to help.
Talk About It
Too many people struggle with depression in silence because they’re afraid of what people will think or that they’ll burden others. Depression is a medical condition, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Lean on your support network and talk about how you’re feeling (trust us, it helps).
Take Care of Yourself
Our mental and physical health are intertwined, so it’s important to pay attention to both. Not getting enough sleep or the right nutrition can worsen depression. It’s okay to step back and take some time for yourself while you’re also reaching out for help and taking actions to feel better.
Sometimes symptoms of depression fade over time. Other times, unaddressed mental health conditions can continue to impact work, school, relationships and overall wellness. Don’t wait until things get worse. Reach out for help from a professional. You can find resources below or visit our help-seeking page to learn more.
These resources can help you find professional support online, on the phone or in person. And if you or a friend are having thoughts of suicide, reach out immediately for a free, confidential chat with a trained counselor anytime.