Symptoms of depression
Environmental Health and Safety

Common symptoms of depression: What to know?

What is depression?

Depression is a medical condition that affects your mood and ability to function. Depressive symptoms include feeling sad, hopeless. The condition can also cause difficulty with thinking, memory, eating and sleeping.

How common is depression?

Depression is common all over the world. Healthcare providers estimate that nearly 7% of American adults have depression every year. More than 16% of U.S. adults — around 1 in 6 — will experience depression in their lifetime.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression can affect your emotions, mind and body. Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling very sad, hopeless or worried.
  • Not enjoying things that used to give you joy.
  • Being easily irritated or frustrated.
  • Eating too much or too little.
  • Changes in how much you sleep.
  • Having a difficult time concentrating or remembering things.
  • Experiencing physical problems like headache, stomachache or sexual dysfunction.
  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself.

What can I do if I have depression?

If you have symptoms of depression, see your healthcare provider. They can give you an accurate diagnosis, refer you to a specialist or suggest treatment options. The following tips may help people who have these risk factors or who are living with depression manage or avoid symptoms.

Avoid stress:

It is not always possible to avoid stress, but taking steps to do so may help. These include:

  • getting enough sleep and rest
  • learning to say “no” to additional demands
  • taking breaks from work
  • practicing breathing exercises and meditation
  • getting regular exercise


Exercise as an underutilized treatment for depression. The authors note that it can boost both physical and mental well-being.


A healthful diet may help prevent depression and boost mental well-being. The following foods may help:

  • fresh fruits and vegetables
  • green tea
  • soybean products
  • healthful oils, such as olive oil
  • whole grains
  • fish


A lack of sleep may worsen symptoms of depression, and it is also a common symptom.

Alcohol and drug use:

The use of alcohol and some recreational drugs can increase the risk of depression and make symptoms worse.

Talking therapy:

Talking therapy, can help people identify the causes of depression and find practical solutions.
Therapy can be one-on-one, with a group of people who meet just for therapy, or with partners or family members.

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