Depression Signs and Symptoms

Specifically, clinical depression is a persistent, depressed mood that is often characterized by feelings of sadness or emptiness. People who have depression, or more formally, Major Depressive Disorder, experience at least five of the following symptoms, nearly every day, for a period of at least two weeks:

  • Sad, low, empty, depressed mood
  • Loss of interest of pleasure in nearly all activities
  • Feelings of worthlessness, or guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling "slowed down"
  • Changes in appetite and/or weight
  • Oversleeping, early-morning awakening, or insomnia
  • Thoughts of death, suicide, plans or attempts

These episodes are also accompanied by clinically significant distress, or impairment (interference) in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. If impairment is severe, the person might lose the ability to function socially or occupationally.

Anxiety Signs and Symptoms

Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread.

Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.

Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should seek information and treatment right away.