Signs and Symptoms of Depression

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Because depression is complex and affects so many systems of the body, it has many manifestations, and which ones are most prominent can vary from person to person. According to the latest edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, widely used as a roadmap to diagnosis, depression can be considered an illness when at least five symptoms occur together for at least two weeks. Symptoms include:

• Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness

• Irritability, angry outbursts, or low frustration tolerance

• Loss of interest in or ability to enjoy usual activities, from sex to sports

• Sleep disturbance, whether inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much (hypersomnia)

• Fatigue and lack of energy; everything feels effortful

• Appetite disturbance, including loss of interest in eating and weight loss or overeating and weight gain

• Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness

• Slowed thinking, moving, or talking

• Feelings of worthlessness and guilt, a focus on past failure, self-blame

• Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, and making decisions

• Recurring thoughts of death

• Physical pain such as headaches or back pain that has no clear cause.