Are Some Symptoms of Depression More Significant Than Others?

Carol Landau, Ph.D., healthy living expert at iVillage.com, answers your questions about managing your 20s and 30s without getting depressed

There is one symptom that carries more weight than others when it comes to depression. If you are uncharacteristically sad most of the time for more than two weeks or have lost interest in your favorite activities, you may be depressed.

Other symptoms include feeling guilty or hopeless; a significant increase or decrease in appetite; a change in sleep habits, energy and activity levels; difficulty concentrating, an inability to enjoy usually pleasurable activities; and thoughts of suicide.

Technically a “depressive episode” requires having five of those nine symptoms, but if you have one or two symptoms and they are more than fleeting, you should talk to your doctor. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, you should get professional help immediately.

Many women are extra vulnerable to depression in the decade after college. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by moving to a new place, looking for a job and meeting new people, learn how to sidestep the pitfalls and survive. To ask questions or give and receive support, visit our Depression Support message board.

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