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Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but, when emotions such as hopelessness and despair take hold and just won't go away, you may have depression.  More than just sadness in response to life's struggles and setbacks, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities.  It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep and enjoy life.  Just trying to get through the day can be overwhelming.  

While some people describe depression as "living in a black hole" or having a feeling of impending doom, others feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic.

The 10 Common Symptoms of Depression are:

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.  A bleak outlook- nothing will ever get better and there's nothing you can do to improve your situation.

  2. Loss of interest in daily activities.  You  don't care anymore about former activities and hobbies.  You've lost the ability to feel joy and pleasure.

  3. Appetite or weight changes.  Significant weight loss or gain.  

  4. Sleep changes.  Either insomnia or oversleeping.

  5. Anger or irritability.  Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent.  Your tolerance level is low, your temper short and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

  6. Loss of energy.  Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained.

  7. Self-loathing.  Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt.

  8. Reckless behavior.  You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse or dangerous activities.

  9. Concentration problems.  Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.

  10. Unexplained aches and pains.  An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles and stomach pain.

Effective treatment for depression involves providing the client with the tools to treat it from a variety of angles and to motivate him/her to take the action necessary.  Therapy can also offer the skills and insight to prevent depression from coming back.

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