Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is the most common mental illness. It is caused by changes in the brain chemicals. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. When a person is depressed they have less of these neurotransmitters. Many antidepressants work by replacing the missing chemicals in your brain. Depression lasts longer than 2 weeks and affects your ability to work and do normal activities.

Signs of depression may include:       

  • feelings of hopelessness
  • feeling restless or low on energy
  • being negative
  • having a hard time concentrating
  • feelings of anxiety or sadness
  • being irritable
  • losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • loss of appetite or over eating
  • insomnia
  • suicidal thoughts

Only a doctor can diagnose depression. If you think you may be depressed or have another mental illness, see a doctor.

There are different kinds of depression. Some women become depressed after child birth. This is called postpartum or postnatal depression. Feeling sad is common after giving birth,but if it lasts more than 2 weeks, talk with your doctor.

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD is common in the winter months, when our bodies are lacking in natural vitamin D that we absorb from sunlight.

Situational depression is when a distressing situation causes depression, such as losing a job or the death of a loved one.

What are some causes of depression?

  • a breakup or divorce
  • loss of a job or money issues
  • an accident that results in a disability
  • being bullied
  • being victimized
  • death of a loved one
  • being disabled or unable to do normal activities
  • mental disorders
  • being a full time care giver
  • being abused

Most suicidal people do not want to die, they want the pain to stop.

                                                                 Warning Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States for 2015 (CDC). Many see suicide as a way to end pain and feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. Risk factors for suicide include a family history of suicide or suicide attempts, an alcohol or drug problem, and depression or other mental conditions. These are some red flags to look for:

  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Clinical depression- deep sadness, loss of interest
  • Comments about being hopeless, helpless or worthless
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • Having a "death wish", tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights.
  • Saying things like "It would be better If I wasn't here" or I want it to end"
  • Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing happy
  • Talking about suicide or killing one's self   
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
  • Trouble sleeping and eating- that keeps getting worse
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about.

Things to remember:

People who talk about suicide aren't just looking for attention. Four out of five people who completes or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Saying things like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," no matter how casually or jokingly said, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

People who want to  to kill themselves are NOT crazy. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken or depressed. Extreme distress and emotional pain are always signs of mental illness but are not signs of psychosis.

Even if a person is seems determined to end their life, you can help them. Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, and most waiver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to end their pain. 

Most people who consider suicide are willing to seek help. Studies of adult suicide victims have shown that more then half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.

Talking about suicide does NOT give someone the idea. You don't give a suicidal person ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true -- bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.