Feeling Blue? You're Not Alone

In fact, on average, 34 million Americans have depression. It is a real condition and it can be treated. Depression is not a sign of weakness. It's your body's way of telling you that you may need help. The good news is, you don't have to live with depression. Learn the signs and symptoms of depression. If you think you are depressed, talk to your doctor about getting treatment.

Statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health are promising. Studies show that more than 80 percent of people with depression show improvement. Yet only about 57 percent of them seek help.

So how do you know if you have depression or if you're just feeling a bit "down in the dumps"? The only way to know for sure is to see your doctor. However, knowing what symptoms to look for can help you prepare for your doctor visit. It can help you to make the most of your time there.

Depression does have very specific symptoms. But, they may vary from person to person. Symptoms must last for 2 weeks or more and include:

  • A lasting sad mood and/or
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities

People with depression have many or all of these symptoms as well:

  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Restlessness or decreased activity that others notice
  • A loss of energy or a feeling of being tired all the time
  • A hard time concentrating or making decisions
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide

Many antidepressants have been proven well tolerated and effective for the treatment of depression in adults. They may be right for you. Learn more about depression and how to talk to your doctor about the best treatment plan for you.