Signs and Symptoms of Depression
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What is a Disorder?
When psychologists use the word disorder it typically refers to a cluster of symptoms which, when experienced, cause the individual Significant Impairment in their ability to achieve their goals. These symptoms are associated with impairment in Social, Emotional, and Vocational or school activities.

A disorder can also refer to a symptom cluster that persists for an unusually long time and is generally exaggerated in its expression, e.g. Mood Disorder (Depression and Bipolar Disorder). A mood typically is an ephemeral experience - it doesn’t last for a long time. Most people are capable of sorrow and happiness (even great sorrow and great happiness), but both moods tend to be short lived. We feel happy or sad for a time but not so happy or so sad that we are incapable of “taking care of business”. People suffering from Mood Disorders typically experience difficulties in Social, Emotional, and Vocational or School activities.

As my grand mother once advised me, “You shouldn’t be too happy or too sad because in both cases you could walk across the street without seeing where you are going and get hit by a car!”
  Symptom Checklist
The following symptoms are typically experienced every day, for most of the day, for at least two weeks.

1 - Low mood, feelings of “downness”, sadness, or dysphoria.
2 - A marked decrease in, or interest in, pleasurable activities (anhedonia).
3 - Significant change in eating, /or sleeping patterns. As compared to a typical day the individual
eats or sleeps far more, or far less frequently than their norm.
4 - Feelings of fatigue or low energy.
5 - Inability to concentrate.
6 - Feelings of worthlessness or overwhelming immobilizing guilt.
7 - Recurring thoughts of hurting oneself. Making plans to hurt oneself, or attempting to hurt onself.

NOTE - If you experience at least four of these symptoms you may want to consult with a qualified mental health practitioner to determine if you could benefit from some form of professional help. This is especially true if you are planning on hurting yourself.

APA Pamphlet on Depression
NIMH Pamphlets on Depression
Suicide Hotlines
Why Call A Hotline?