Diagnosing depression

Depression may result in feelings of emptiness, crying without any apparent reason, and loss of pleasure from daily life.

At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Depression affects about 19 million American adults each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Depression manifests itself through a variety of symptoms. The most common are deep feelings of sadness, and a marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Other symptoms include:

  • changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting
  • inability to sleep (insomnia) or oversleeping
  • loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • restlessness or irritability
  • feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions

You can be depressed without actually feeling sad. Instead, a lot of people become irritable, angry, or lose interest in activities that they enjoyed before. For this reason, it may not always be easy to recognize depression in yourself, a friend, or somebody you know.