Are You Depressed?

Major depression is a common mental health disorder, affecting more than 21 million US adults. Symptoms of depression can include a low or sad mood that persists for longer than 2 weeks, lack of energy, a feeling of emptiness, loss of appetite, and no longer enjoying favorite activities. Knowing the warning signs of depression can help individuals receive a diagnosis and get help.


Understanding depression

Although most people have experienced occasional feelings of sadness, depression involves a sustained period of feeling low. Research shows depression is more likely to occur in women and people ages 18-25. The condition also commonly presents during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Some people have what is referred to as seasonal depression, meaning feelings of sadness directly correlate with the cold and dark winter months.

Low energy

For many people, a change in energy levels is the first sign of depression. Individuals who used to enjoy meeting up with friends or working out may find lounging on the couch or staying in bed much easier. Even after sleeping for 8 or more hours, individuals with depression can report feeling tired and irritable. If lifestyle changes such as eating a nutritious diet and getting more sleep don’t seem to improve the feeling of fatigue, a visit to the doctor may be in order.

Loss of enjoyment

Most people have a hobby or favorite activity that automatically brings joy. Although interests can change over time, a loss of enjoyment in preferred past times should trigger concern. If motivation to partake in preferred activities is lacking, depression could be the cause.


Although many people associate overthinking with anxiety, ruminating on thoughts can also be a sign of depression. Rumination refers to repetitive thinking or dwelling on negative feelings and the related causes and consequences. For example, an individual with depression may repeatedly think about an interaction with a colleague, wondering if the information shared was wrong, possibly leading to termination. In reality, the problem is often not as severe as an individual with depression interprets, but the intrusive thoughts can take over.

Thoughts of death

The ultimate red flag that should be reported immediately is any thought of death or suicide. Self-harm, such as cutting, is another indication that a person is seriously struggling. Although reaching out to a healthcare provider during this time can feel challenging, help is available. Medications and counseling can both be effective in treating major depressive disorder.

Get help now

Any individual concerned about depression should reach out to a doctor right away to get help. Even more minor cases can benefit from the help of a professional. Low energy, loss of enjoyment in activities, and rumination are all signs something may be off. Suicidal thoughts are a concern that should be addressed immediately. Get help early on to take charge of depression.