Depression is a mental disorder that is characterized by persistent low mood and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. It can lead to a range of emotional and physical problems and significantly reduce the quality of life.
Some common symptoms of depression are persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed, disturbances in appetite and/or sleep patterns, fatigue and lethargy, feeling ‘slowed down’ mentally and physically, losing the ability to concentrate on everyday tasks without becoming distracted easily, restlessness or irritability. In children, depression may present as a pervasive unwillingness to participate in school or social activities. In some cases, suicidal thoughts can be a symptom of depression.
While these symptoms can occur for a number of other reasons, when a depressed mood lasts more than two weeks it is considered clinical depression requiring treatment. It’s important to note that certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism also cause depressive symptoms.