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Most people have felt sad or depressed at times.  Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem.  But when feelings of intense sadness–including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless–lasts for days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more than sadness.  It may be clinical depression–a treatable medical condition.

Major Depressive disorder (MDD)

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early morning wakefulness OR excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interests in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Loss of pleasure in life
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

Dysthymia (Mild chronic Depression)

Dysthymia, sometimes referred to as mild, chronic depression, is less severe and has fewer symptoms than major depression.  With dysthymia, the depression can linger for a longer period of time, often two years or longer.  While not as disabling as major depression, dysthymia can keep you from feeling your best and functioning optimally. Those who suffer from dysthymia can also experience periods of major depression–sometime called “double depression”.

  • Sadness or depressed mood most of the day or almost every day
  • Loss of enjoyment in things that were once pleasurable
  • Major weight changes (gain or loss of more than 5% within a month) or appetite
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day
  • Being physically restless or rundown in a way that is noticeable by others
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feeling of worthlessness or hopelessness or excessive guilt almost every day
  • Problems with concentration or making decisions almost everyday
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide, suicide plan, or suicide attempt

** Information obtained from WebMD