What is depression? Understanding depression and its symptoms.

Depression, also called Major Depressive Disorder, is a serious mood disorder causing persistent sadness, or loss of interest in daily activities. People in their 20s - 30s are most at risk for developing symptoms of depression, however, this illness can affect anyone, at any age.

The causes of depression are unknown, and there are a variety of factors that may be involved. Those that suffer from depression may have biological differences in their brain or brain chemistry, changes in hormones, or may have inherited these traits from relatives.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression are varied and can include the following:

  • Frequent or recurring thoughts of death or suicide

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness

  • Irritability or angry outbursts

  • Lack of energy

  • Reduced appetite or weight loss

  • Increased food cravings and weight gain

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating or remembering

  • Insomnia or sleep disturbances, or sleeping too much

  • Feelings of worthlessness, fixating on past failures

For many people with depression, these symptoms will be severe enough to interfere with normal day to day activities. There are also people that will have feelings of misery or unhappiness without knowing why, and without experiencing additional symptoms. Depression affects children, teens, and adults differently. If you are concerned you, or a child or loved one, may be experiencing symptoms of depression, you should contact your physician.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Many people may experience occasional, brief depression symptoms at some point throughout their life. However, those with Major Depressive Disorder will experience symptoms that occur large portions of each day, and on most days of the week.

Depression is a serious illness and help is available. The vast majority of people with depression will overcome it with proper treatment. If you or a loved one are suffering from any of the listed symptoms of depression, feel depressed, have suicidal thoughts or feelings, or have concerns about your mental health, contact your family physician or psychiatrist right away. Talk to your doctor about your concerns and symptoms, and request an evaluation to address your mental health needs.

Contact the office of Signature Psychiatry Associates at 330-835-4000 to learn more about the services offered or to schedule an appointment.

Interested in learning more about the non-drug treatment option that is available for those suffering from depression? Visit our TMS Therapy web page which includes more information as well as informational videos and FAQs.

Parekh R. What Is Depression? Mindfulness Practices May help Treat Many Mental Health Conditions. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Depression (Major Depressive Disorder).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 3 Feb. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007.