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Read the following information to help you decide whether you might have
depression. It does not take the place of a doctor's
Depression causes you to feel sad and hopeless much of
the time. It's different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy.
Depression is a medical problem that needs treatment. If you think you may be
depressed, see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment right away. Untreated
depression may get worse.
You may have major depression if you
have at least five of the symptoms listed below for 2 weeks or longer and one
of the symptoms is either sadness or loss of interest. You may:
A serious symptom of depression is thinking about death and
suicide. If you or someone you care about talks about suicide or feeling
hopeless, get help right away.
warning signs of suicide, which include talking a lot
about death, giving things away, or using a lot of alcohol, drugs, or both. If
you see these signs in yourself or a loved one, get help.
think you may have depression, take this short quiz to check your
If you have fewer symptoms, you may still be depressed and
need treatment. No matter how many symptoms you have, it's important to see
your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chance for a quick
and full recovery.
There are several types of depression that may
have different symptoms and patterns. These include:
If you think you have depression after reviewing this list,
print the list and circle those symptoms that you have. Take the list to your
If your depression is related to a health problem, such as
hypothyroidism, treating the disease usually cures the
Substance abuse also may cause depression that is
cured when the substance abuse is stopped. Substance abuse also can be a sign
If you have just lost someone you care about, you
may have symptoms similar to those of depression. Feelings of sadness, sorrow,
and grief are normal. And most people start to feel better over several months.
But if you feel very sad or depressed, your symptoms don't go away, or you
think about killing or hurting yourself, see your doctor. You may need
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that
all people, starting at age 12, be screened for depression.1, 2
For more information,
see the topic Depression.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for depression in adults: Recommendation statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf09/adultdepression/addeprrs.htm.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (2009). Screening for Major Depressive Disorder in Children and Adolescents: Recommendation Statement. Available online: http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf09/depression/chdeprrs.htm.
January 11, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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