Everyone feels down at times. The blues are a natural part of life. But an unhappy period that’s intense or lasts for more than a couple of weeks can be a sign of depression. Depression is a serious illness. It is not a sign of weakness or a "character flaw," and it is not something you can "snap out of." In fact, most people with depression need treatment to get better. Depression can disrupt the lives of family and friends. If you know someone you think may be depressed, find out what you can do to help.
People who are depressed may:
Feel unhappy, sad, blue, down, or miserable nearly every day
Feel helpless, hopeless, or worthless
Lose interest in hobbies, friends, and activities that used to give pleasure
Not sleep well or sleep too much
Gain or lose weight
Feel low on energy or constantly tired
Have a hard time concentrating or making decisions
Lose interest in sex
Have physical symptoms, such as stomachaches, headaches, or backaches
Never ignore a person's comments about suicide or behaviors that can lead to self-harm. Warning signals for suicide include:
Threats or talk of suicide
Statements such as “I won’t be a problem much longer” or “Nothing matters”
Giving away possessions or making a will or funeral arrangements
Buying a gun or other weapon
Sudden, unexplained cheerfulness or calm after a period of depression
If you notice any of these signs, get help right away. Call a healthcare professional, mental health clinic, or suicide hotline and ask what action to take. In an emergency, don’t hesitate to call the police.
National Institutes of Mental Health
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mental Health America
National Suicide Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.