What Is Depression?
It is an illness. It involves a person’s mood, thinking, body functions, and actions. Changes in these areas can last for weeks or months. People become upset because it can affect their ability to function.
Signs and Symptoms
Feelings of being sad, blue, “down in the dumps,” or worried.
Loss of being able to feel pleasure.
Decreased interest with family, work, recreation and sex.
Negative thoughts of the past, present, and future.
Feelings of being helpless and hopeless.
Common thoughts of suicide.
Unable to focus, remember, and make decisions.
Anxiety and/or raised fears.
In severe depression, false beliefs and/or unreal sights, sounds or other feelings may occur.
Appetite changes. Weight loss may result from eating less, but depressed people may eat more and gain weight.
Too much or too little sleep.
Chronic fatigue and decreased energy
Nausea, constipation, or diarrhea
Increased reports of aches and pains
Some people do not show any changes.
Others may be:
Restless, pacing or hand wringing
Not being able to work or perform daily acts like dressing, eating, or washing
Depressed people are at a higher risk for suicide
Depression reacts well to treatment. Treatment depends on the type, its causes, and how serious. Treatment may include talking to experts, medicines, and/or ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). It may take many weeks before symptoms start to go away. The sooner a diagnosis, the sooner treatment can begin.
Who to Call
For more information about the treatment of depression contact:
Depression Treatment at UW Health
National Suicide Prevention line
1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-799-4889
National Alliance on Mental Illness
in Dane County
2059 Atwood Ave., Madison, WI