The holiday season for some can be filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings with family and friends. For others, the holidays could mean the complete opposite. It may appear as a time for sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety. Could you be depressed? What can you do?

What is Depression?

A mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.Depression affects how you feel, think, and behave. Depression can lead to several different emotional or physical problems, like you are having trouble with your normal day- to- day activities or feel like life isn’t worth living. It is often undiagnosed and untreated, leading to reluctancy to seek help as time goes on. Depression is not a weakness and is not something you can quickly get away from. Most people feel betterwith medication and/or psychotherapy to help them cope.


• Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness• Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters• Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much• Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort• Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness• Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame• Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things• Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide• Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Depression symptoms in children, teens, and older adults

Typical depression symptoms of younger children may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or beingunderweight.

Typical depression symptoms of teens may include sadness, irritability,feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance atschool, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using recreational drugsor alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normalactivities, and avoidance of social interaction.• Symptoms of depression typically associated with adults includesmemory difficulties or personality changes, physical aches or pain, fatigue, lossof appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex — not caused by a medicalcondition or medication, often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out tosocialize or doing new things, suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in oldermen.

Depression check… Here are a few questions to consider:

• Are you suffering from feelings of sadness, hopelessness or emptiness?• Do you find it hard to find pleasure in activities you used to enjoy?• Has your appetite changed?• Are you lacking energy and motivation?• Has your sex drive reduced?• Are you having trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep? Or are you finding it hard to get up in the morning?• Have you had thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life?

When to see a doctor

If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental healthprofessional as soon as you can. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or become suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Other helpful options to consider:

• Call your doctor or mental health professional.• Call a suicide hotline number — in the U.S., call the National SuicidePrevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Use that samenumber and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.• Reach out to a close friend or loved one.• Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.



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