Experiencing at least five of the nine symptoms listed below for two or more consecutive weeks may be indicative of a Major Depressive Episode if the symptoms cause distress or impairment to social, occupational, and other areas of function. These symptoms must not be the direct effect of any general medical condition or of any form of substance, and cannot be better accounted for by Bereavement (up to two months following a significant loss), otherwise a diagnosis of a Major Depressive Episode cannot be made.
- Loss of interest and pleasure in nearly all activities.
- Described mood as depressed, sad, hopeless, discouraged, or "down in the dumps." May feel "blah," anxious, numb, etc.
- Overall decreased appetite accompanied by increased cravings for specific foods (i.e., sweets or other carbohydrates) resulting in weight gain or unintentional weight-loss.
- Sleep issues ranging from hypersomnia (oversleeping), middle insomnia (difficulty staying asleep, waking up frequently), terminal insomnia (waking up and not able to fall back to sleep at all), and initial insomnia (difficulty or inability to fall asleep altogether).
- Psychomotor agitation (restlessness, jittery) or retardation (sensation of moving in slow-motion).
- Loss of energy. Fatigued.
- Feelings of worthlessness and/or inappropriate, excessive guilt.
- Increased irritability, demonstrating an exaggerated sense of frustration over minor matters. Obsessive rumination. May experience panic attacks.
- Memory and concentration difficulties. Indecisiveness.
- Reoccurring thoughts of death, suicidal ideations and possible attempts. Belief that others would be better off without them, etc.
Treatment and management of a Major Depressive Episode vary greatly based on resources, care providers, and clients' preference. Research online and speak to your general medical practitioner, therapist, and/or insurance company to explore options. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts and are in immediate threat of injury or death, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at1-800-273-8255.