Are you depressed?

Sep 11, 2012 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Depression can take many forms and it's not always easy to recognize. Think you or a someone you know might be suffering from this debilitating condition? Here are a few symptoms to watch for.

More than ordinary moodiness
Depression

Many Canadians suffer from unhappiness and stress at some point, but for some, those feelings don't go away. As per the Canadian Psychiatric Association, when anxiety or depression lasts for weeks on end, appears to come out of nowhere and affects day to day life it's not just ordinary moodiness. You may have an illness. Here are the signs to look for when judging whether or not to seek treatment.

Sadness/irritability

People suffering depression often feel overwhelmingly sad. They may be going through life feeling helpless and/or hopeless. Irritability can also be an indicator of depression.

Appetite

Depressive illness may cause sufferers to experience changes in appetite. This may result in weight loss or weight gain.

Sleep

A disruption of normal sleep habits. Those who are experiencing depression or anxiety often have problems falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up.

Loss of interest

Another red flag is the loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed and participated in regularly. In cases of major depression, people might actually stop doing things they have done their entire lives and become completely apathetic.

Fatigue

Those with depression often experience noticeable fatigue and lethargy. If you are sleeping at night and still feel drained and exhausted throughout the day, it could be a sign of depression.

Negative feelings

Persistent feelings of worthlessness and guilt may plague a person with depression. Do you have negative thoughts about yourself or others? Do you make self-deprecating comments? Consistent negative thoughts may be a sign that you are depressed.

Physical symptoms

Ailments such as headaches or stomachaches are often present in people with depression. If you suddenly notice more aches and pains or even just discomfort that you didn't have previously, you may want to seek medical attention.

Suicidal thoughts

Depressive illness may lead to thoughts of committing suicide. If you or someone you know ever considers suicide, it is imperative to seek professional help immediately.

The Canadian Psychiatry Association describes anxiety and depression as among the most common and most treatable forms of mental illness in Canada. There are many approaches and options available to treat depression but the first step to feeling better is to contact your healthcare provider. He or she can can advise you on the best solution to help fight this detrimental mental disease.

More help for staying positive

How to Recognise and Correct Negative Thinking
Why Canadians Need More Vitamin D
Helping a friend with depression

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