Sadness is a normal response to hard times in our lives. It usually goes away over time for most people. Depression goes beyond sadness and doesn't go away. It is a real illness and can cause problems with work, school, family and friends. Most people with depression need treatment to get better.

Signs of Depression

Sadness is only a small part of depression. Depression has many other symptoms. Some people have lots of symptoms, others only have a few. Having any of the symptoms below for more than two weeks may be a sign of depression.

  • Feeling sad, blue, or down every day.
  • Feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless.
  • Losing interest in friends and things that used to bring happiness.
  • Not sleeping well or sleeping too much.
  • Gaining or losing weight.
  • Feeling tired all the time.
  • Having body aches and pains.
Getting Help

Depression can be treated with medication and therapy. The first step is to talk to your doctor. It may take a while for your mood to lift after starting treatment. Don't give up. Talk openly with your doctor about how you're feeling.

Self-Help Tips

There are things you can do to help yourself feel better. It may be hard and you may not feel like doing anything. Keep in mind you are not to blame for your depression, but you do have some control over your thoughts and actions.

  • Try to be active and exercise.
  • Set small realistic goals for yourself.
  • Try to spend time with other people. Let them help you.
  • Do not expect your mood to get better right away. Be patient.