How Do You Know if Your Are Depressed?

Depression is a constellation of symptoms, which involves feelings that persist and interfere with everyday life.

The World Health Organization ranks major depression among the most burdensome diseases in the world. Everyone experiences short periods of minor depression. What separates major depression from typical situational or mild depression? Major depression is a relapsing, remitting illness. Following a first episode, there is a greater than 40 percent rate of recurrence over a two-year period. Major depression is also characterized by progressive increases with each successive episode of the depression.  The risk of recurrence within five years after two episodes is estimated at 75% and 10 to 30 % of individuals that are treated for a major depressive episode will have an incomplete recovery.

How do you know if you are depressed? — Depressed people feel down most of the time for at least 2 weeks, do you?  Do you have at least 1 of these 2 symptoms:

  • You no longer enjoy or care about doing the things you used to like to do.
  • You feel sad, down, hopeless, or cranky most of the day, almost every day.

Depression can make you:

  • Lose or gain weight
  • Sleep too much or too little
  • Feel tired or like you have no energy
  • Feel guilty or like you are worth nothing
  • Forget things or feel confused
  • Think about death or suicide

If you think you might be depressed, see someone to help you sort it out and get you the help you need. If you ever feel like you might hurt yourself or someone else, do one of these things:

  • Call your doctor or nurse and tell them it is urgent
  • Call 9-1-1
  • Go to the emergency room at your local hospital
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
  • 1-800-273-8255



World Health Organization. The World Health Report 22: Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2002.


Am J Psychiatry. 2000;157(2)

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