What is it?

The word depression is used in many different ways. People feel sad or blue when bad things happen. However, everyday “blues” or sadness is not a depressive disorder. We all may have a short-term depressed mood, but we cope and soon recover without treatment. A major depressive disorder lasts for at least two weeks and affects a person’s ability to work, to carry out usual daily activities, and to have satisfying personal relationships.

Signs and Symptoms: 

A person who is clinically depressed would have at least one of these two symptoms nearly every day, for at least two weeks:

  • An unusually sad mood
  • Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable

A person may also have these symptoms:

  • Lack of energy and tiredness
  • Feeling worthless or feeling guilty though not really at fault
  • Thinking often about death or wishing to be dead
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Moving more slowly or sometimes becoming agitated and unable to settle
  • Having sleeping difficulties or sometimes sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in food or sometimes eating too much. Changes in eating habits may lead to either loss of weight or weight gain
Support Strategies: 
  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies
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