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What does depression feel like?

For months, Carol, a travel agent, has felt very sad. She feels extremely fatigued and lethargic. She finds it difficult to sleep at night, and her appetite has decreased. Though reading was once a passion of hers, lately she lacks the concentration to even focus on the morning paper. She no longer enjoys activities with her friends and family. She is plagued with feelings of hopelessness; often she struggles to make it out of bed in the morning. She finds herself asking what the point is to her life and wonders if life is even worth living.

Carol suffers from depression. Depression is not simply “being sad” or “being in a bad mood.” Depression is a physiological problem caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Also known as clinical depression or major depression, it can last months or years if left untreated.

Some symptoms of clinical depression include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, negativity, and pessimism
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Sleep disturbances such as insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

People with major depression can not simply “shake off” their feelings. Depression does not go away by itself; however, almost all people with depression can overcome it with the proper treatment.

Related Depression Resources:

Herbs and Vitamins for Depressed Mood
Cognitive Behavior Therapy: How It Works
Depression and Wellness at Insight
Depression News

Relieve Depressed Mood: For Adults and Teens