How to Recognize Depression

Depression impacts 17 million Americans. Here are the most common symptoms.

Empty school hallway and depression
Empty school hallway and depression

Depression is marked by feelings of sadness or emptiness for much of the day, nearly every day. Other symptoms include:

Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable

Change in appetite-usually a decline, but sometimes an increase

Difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more than usual

Fatigue or lack of energy


Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or inadequacy

Difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness

Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Unexplained aches and pains

If you’ve had one or more of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, consult a doctor or mental-health professional. If you’re thinking about suicide, or if you feel so bad that you can’t work or are avoiding people, seek help as soon as possible.