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The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) defines depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.


To effectively diagnose and treat depression, the doctor must hear about specific symptoms of depression. A doctor may use a series of standard questions to screen for depression.


Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Irritability​

  • Decreased energy or fatigue​

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness​

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities​

  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still​

  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts​

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Moving or talking more slowly​

  • Appetite and/or weight change​​​

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood​

  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism​

  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping​

  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

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