It is estimated that one in five of us will experience mental health challenges during any given year. One such challenge is depression, which is a widespread and diagnosable condition that has a negative impact on how we feel, think, and act.
Clinical depression, for example, is a mental health illness characterized by a persistently low mood or loss of interest in activities that significantly impairs daily living, whereas persistent depressive disorder is a mild form of depression that lasts for an extended period. To take care of ourselves, we must be aware of the symptoms of depression, have a few tricks up our sleeves for when we are down, and understand how to support someone we care about who is feeling depressed.
Depression symptoms can range from moderate to severe, but they must persist for at least two weeks and lead to a change in how well we are functioning in our everyday lives for us to be diagnosed with depression. Some of these symptoms include:
- Sadness or a depressed mood.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in formerly enjoyed activities
- Appetite changes leading to weight loss or gain unrelated to diets
- Sleeping difficulties or excessive sleep
- Energy loss or increased fatigue
- Increased purposeless physical activity (e.g., difficulty sitting still, pacing, handwringing) or slower movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Problems thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide