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What are the symptoms of major depression?

People experience clinical, or major, depression in various ways, with no two cases being alike, although many exhibit common symptoms. Some of the most common signs of depression include a loss of interest in previously enjoyable life activities, general hopelessness, lethargy, anxiety and trouble accomplishing normal daily activities. Suicidal thoughts are the most dangerous symptoms of depression.

Anxiety is both a symptom of depression and a condition on its own, and can make depression relapse much more likely. It requires complex treatment and can amplify the effects of depression in the afflicted individual. People who suffer from both depression and anxiety disorders may take longer to respond to treatments (both through medication and psychotherapy).

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

A major depressive episode lasts longer than two weeks with at least five of the seven following symptoms:

  • Changes in your sleep patterns, such as wanting to stay up all night and sleep all day, or just wanting to sleep 24/7 and skip the “up” part totally
  • Decreased interest in activities you previously enjoyed
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Decreased energy that has nothing to do with changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide
Dr. Lara Honos-Webb, PhD
Psychology Specialist

The main requirement for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder is that a person must experience either a depressed mood most of the time for at least two weeks or a dramatic loss of interest in almost all activities. In addition to these symptoms, a person must report four of the following symptoms:

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • A physical slowing down or physical agitation
  • Fatigue and loss of energy every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness and inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.