Understanding Depression

Depression

Depression is real.

Depression is more than just feeling sad or a little under the weather. Depression is a mental disorder caused by problems with chemicals in the brain. This chemical imbalance affects how people feel, think, and act. No one chooses to have depression; it is a medical illness just like cancer, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

Recognize symptoms early.

Depression is diagnosed by recognizing symptoms that are generally a change from your usual behavior.  If you have depression, you’ll experience several of the symptoms below for two weeks or longer:

  • Little interest or pleasure in doing things
  • Feeling sad, depressed, or hopeless
  • Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or having little energy
  • A poor appetite or overeating
  • Feeling bad about yourself – thinking that you’re a failure or that you’ve let yourself or others down
  • Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television
  • Moving or speaking so slowly that other people may notice, or feeling so fidgety or restless that you move around a lot more than usual
  • Thoughts that you would be better off dead or hurting yourself in some way

Depression is treatable.

There is good news! Depression can be treated, and most people recover and lead full, productive lives.  Treatment can include counseling, medication, self-care, or a combination of all three. It can take some time to find the right treatment for an individual’s situation and symptoms, but it’s worth the effort to feel better. 

If you think you’re depressed or having thoughts of suicide, get help.

Here are other helpful resources.