What are the Symptoms of Major Depression?

Symptoms of major depression include significant changes in weight, extreme fatigue, uncontrolled crying spells, suicidal thoughts, and poor decision making skills. While everyone may feel "down in the dumps" from time to time, major depression is a clinical condition that can result in the most extreme feelings of sadness. Those who believe that they or someone they know may be suffering from major depression should seek medical treatment as soon as possible to ensure prompt treatment and recovery.

A significant decrease or increase in weight with no obvious cause is one of the most common symptoms of major depression. In order to be considered "significant," weight must increase or decrease by at least 5 pounds (2.26 kg) over the course of one week. While individuals suffering from major depression typically lose weight, weight gain may also occur.

Extreme fatigue is another of the common symptoms of major depression. Individuals suffering from fatigue may not only feel tired and want to sleep frequently, they might even lack the energy that they once had to perform everyday activities. Since fatigue is a symptom of a number of other conditions, it should be considered along with other ongoing signs of major depression.


Symptoms of major depression often include uncontrolled crying spells. Crying may be related to a particular trigger, such as a thought or song, or can come on completely unprompted. In major depression, crying bouts may last anywhere from a few minutes at a time to an hour. Even though the individual suffering from major depression may want to stop crying, he or she is likely unable to do so unassisted.

In some cases, individuals suffering from major depression can experience suicidal thoughts and ongoing pain. While some individuals may actually act out their suicidal thoughts, many others simply contemplate the possibility. Individuals who are thinking about hurting themselves should be referred for psychological assistance as soon as possible. Ongoing medical and psychological care may be needed.

Poor decision making skills are also linked to major depression. Individuals suffering from depression may experience difficulty making decisions related to work, relationships, or other matters completely. Cognitive therapy for those suffering from depression often involves helping patients make decisions, but even after depressive symptoms have been treated, impairments in the decision making process may still exist.

In many cases, management of major depression can take weeks, months, or even years. Medication, psychotherapy, and group counseling are often required to ensure complete treatment. Some of the symptoms of major depression can be life threatening, so it's important that anyone who is suffering from these symptoms seek medical assistance to help manage the condition.



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