Depression is a normal reaction to loss, life struggles, or an injured self-esteem. Most people have experienced intense sadness at some point in their lives, but when feelings of overwhelming sadness, helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness last long enough to affect your ability to function normally, your sadness may be more than a passing depression, it could be clinical depression, a medical condition.
Depression occurs when an individual presents five of the following signs for at least 3 months:
- A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
- Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia (an inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
- A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
In order to accurately diagnose depression, these signs should be present daily for at least 3 months, and cannot be the cause of medication or drugs.