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How do you know if you have depression?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 29, 2019.

Official Answer


Depression (major depressive disorder) is more than just feeling a bit sad or blue from time to time. Depression causes persistent feelings of profound sadness, loss of interest in daily activities, and often withdrawal from friends and family. People with depression can experience a wide range of symptoms and these can have a big impact on day-to-day life.

To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder you should have experienced five or more of the following symptoms on a daily basis, for most of the day, for at least two consecutive weeks:

  • Depressed, sad, empty or hopeless mood; may also feel anxious, irritated or upset
  • Inactivity and withdrawal from usual activities; a loss of interest or pleasure in activities or friends that were once enjoyed
  • A change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
  • Changes in sleep habits - either insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Restless and agitated OR physically and mentally slowed
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, self-hate, and inappropriate guilt
  • Poor concentration, easily distracted, trouble making decisions
  • Thoughts or actions of death or suicide

A depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure must be one of the symptoms you experience in order to be diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Most forms of depression respond well to antidepressant medications and counseling, so it is important to see you health care provider if you think you have depression.

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