Depression

What is a Depressive Disorder?

A depressive disorder is a mood disorder that results in feelings of sadness or irritability and is associated with a general loss of interest or pleasure in most activities. It frequently affects eating and sleeping patterns, self-esteem, and one’s outlook on life. A depressive disorder goes beyond short periods of sadness or feeling “blue”, is not a sign of personal weakness, and is not a condition that can be willed or wished away. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. However, with appropriate treatment, most people who suffer from depressive disorders can be helped.

Symptoms of Depression

Much like with other disorders, individuals suffering from depression will experience a variety of symptoms. Some people may experience relatively few symptoms, while others may experience many. Severity of symptoms varies with each individual as well as across time.

Depression

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Dysthymia

  • Depressed mood for a period of at least two years
  • Poor appetite or overeating
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem or feelings of inadequacy
  • Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
  • Generalized loss of interest or pleasure in most things
  • Social withdrawal
  • Feelings of irritability or excessive anger
  • Decreased activity, effectiveness, or productivity