A depressive disorder is a syndrome (group of
symptoms) that reflects a sad and/or irritable
mood exceeding normal sadness or grief
Depressive signs and symptoms are characterized
not only by negative thoughts, moods, and
behaviors but also by specific changes in bodily
functions (for example, crying spells, body aches,
low energy or libido, as well as problems with
eating, weight, or sleeping). The functional
changes of clinical depression are often called
neurovegetative signs. This means that the nervous
system changes in the brain cause many physical
symptoms that result in diminished participation
and a decreased or increased activity level.
Depression can coexist with virtually every other
mental health illness, aggravating the status of
those who suffer the combination of both
depression and the other mental illness.
Depression symptoms of major depression or manic
Persistently sad, anxious, angry, irritable, or
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and
activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
Social isolation, meaning the sufferer avoids
interactions with family or friends
Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Decreased appetite and/or weight loss, or
overeating and/or weight gain
Fatigue, decreased energy, being "slowed down"
Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making
Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond
to treatment, such as headaches, digestive
disorders, and/or chronic pain
Children and adolescents with depression may also
experience the classic symptoms described above
but may exhibit other symptoms instead of or in
addition to those symptoms, including the
Poor school performance
Frequent complaints of physical problems such as
headaches and stomachaches
Teen depression may be characterized by the
adolescent taking more risks, showing less concern
for their own safety.
How is depression diagnosed?
People who wonder if they should talk to their
health professional about whether or not they have
depression may consider taking a depression
self-test, which asks questions about depressive
The first step to obtaining appropriate treatment
is accurate diagnosis, which requires a complete
physical and psychological evaluation to determine
whether the person may have a depressive illness,
and if so, what type.
Many primary-care doctors use screening tools for
depression, which are usually questionnaires that
help identify people who have symptoms of
depression and may need to receive a full
mental-health evaluation. Persistent boredom
Depression Self Test
A thorough diagnostic evaluation includes a
complete history of the patient's symptoms:
When did the symptoms start?
How long have they lasted?
How severe are they?
Have the symptoms occurred before, and if so, were
they treated and what treatment was received?