Though anyone can suffer from depression, individuals with other medical conditions are at greater risk. Depression affects as many as one-third of all patients with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.
How can you recognize symptoms of clinical depression? Look for these signs:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood.
- Sleeping too much or too little, and waking up in the middle of the night or early morning.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain.
- Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed.
- Restlessness or irritability.
- Persistent physical symptoms such as chronic pain or digestive disorders that do not respond to treatment.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feeling guilty, hopeless, or worthless.
- Thoughts of suicide or death.
If you have five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, you could have clinical depression and should see your doctor or a qualified mental health professional for help.
Again, remember that clinical depression is treatable. Treatment usually includes antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.
Of course, treatment depends on the severity of the condition. In some cases of mild to moderate depression, increasing your physical activity, taking up a new hobby, or joining a social group or club may help alleviate some of your depression symptoms.
And remember, there's no shame in seeking help.
HMSA's disease management services can help you manage and overcome depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or any other behavioral health issues by recommending providers and facilitating care coordination and case management services.