Main story: Holiday blues often hit hard
Depression symptoms include:
* Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
* Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
* Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
* Reduced sex drive
* Insomnia or excessive sleeping
* Changes in appetite -- depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
* Agitation or restlessness -- for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
* Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
* Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
* Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy -- even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
* Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren't going right
* Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
* Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
* Crying spells for no apparent reason
* Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it's obvious something isn't right. Others people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
Depression affects each person in different ways, so depression symptoms vary from person to person. Inherited traits, age, gender and cultural background all play a role in how depression may affect you.
Common symptoms of depression can be a little different in children and teens than they are in adults.
In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, hopelessness and worry.
Symptoms in adolescents and teens may include anxiety, anger and avoidance of social interaction.
Changes in thinking and sleep are common signs of depression in adolescents and adults, but are not as common in younger children.
In children and teens, depression often occurs along with behavior problems and other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and most seniors feel satisfied with their lives. However, depression can and does occur in older adults. Unfortunately it often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Many adults with depression feel reluctant to seek help when they're feeling down.
In older adults, depression may go undiagnosed because symptoms -- for example, fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex -- may seem to be caused by other illnesses
Older adults with depression may say they feel dissatisfied with life in general, bored, helpless or worthless. They may always want to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things.
Suicidal thinking or feelings in older adults is a sign of serious depression that should never be taken lightly, especially in men. Of all people with depression, older adult men are at the highest risk of suicide.
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression symptoms may not get better on their own -- and depression may get worse if it isn't treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems or problems in other areas of your life. Feelings of depression can also lead to suicide.
If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
-- Source: Mayo Clinic