Psychiatry

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Everyone feels down at times. The blues are a natural part of life. But an unhappy period that’s intense or lasts for more than a couple of weeks can be a sign of depression.  Depression is a serious illness. It is not a sign of weakness or a "character flaw," and it is not something you can "snap out of." In fact, most people with depression need treatment to get better. Depression can disrupt the lives of family and friends. If you know someone you think may be depressed, find out what you can do to help.

Recognizing signs of depression

People who are depressed may:

  • Feel unhappy, sad, blue, down, or miserable nearly every day
  • Feel helpless, hopeless, or worthless
  • Lose interest in hobbies, friends, and activities that used to give pleasure
  • Not sleep well or sleep too much
  • Gain or lose weight
  • Feel low on energy or constantly tired
  • Have a hard time concentrating or making decisions
  • Lose interest in sex
  • Have physical symptoms, such as stomachaches, headaches, or backaches

Source: © 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Know the serious signals

Never ignore a person's comments about suicide or behaviors that can lead to self-harm. Warning signals for suicide include:

  • Threats or talk of suicide
  • Statements such as “I won’t be a problem much longer” or “Nothing matters”
  • Giving away possessions or making a will or funeral arrangements
  • Buying a gun or other weapon
  • Sudden, unexplained cheerfulness or calm after a period of depression

If you notice any of these signs, get help right away. Call a healthcare professional, mental health clinic, or suicide hotline and ask what action to take. In an emergency, don’t hesitate to call the police.

Resources:

© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

What Is Psychiatry?

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine focused on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders.

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (an MD or DO) who specializes in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.

People seek psychiatric help for many reasons. The problems can be sudden, such as a panic attack, frightening hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or hearing "voices." Or they may be more long-term, such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiousness that never seem to lift or problems functioning, causing everyday life to feel distorted or out of control.

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families