Need more help?
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
- Call your physician, health provider or clergy
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
Just as it's important to know that depression is a treatable disease, it's worth knowing that having had an episode of depression increases your risk down the road for more episodes. That shouldn't discourage you because proper treatment can make a huge difference. But it's important to watch for warning signs of repeat episodes of depression.
What's an episode of depression you ask? An episode is a period of time. For example, depression (formally called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is diagnosed by having at least two weeks duration of five or more of the following symptoms:
- Depressed mood
- Decreased enjoyment in pleasurable activities
- Sleep disturbance (increased or decreased)
- Appetite disturbance (increased or decreased)
- Excessive or inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness
- Decreased energy
- Concentration difficulties or indecisiveness
- Change in your daily activity. You may feel slowed down, or sped up; increased to the point of feeling fidgety
- Recurrent thoughts of death
These symptoms need to present almost all day nearly every day. In addition, the symptoms also need to cause significant concern or difficulty in all areas of one's life. Finally, the symptoms can't be due to a medical illness or feelings of grief, such as with the loss of a loved one.
Please see your health care provider for additional information about depression, evaluation for depression and options for treatment. If you have suicidal thoughts, contact your provider or seek care at the nearest medical center. Another resource for help is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255).