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What are the symptoms of depression?

The classic symptoms of depression include sadness during most of the day, altered appetite or body weight, change in sleep patterns, agitation, lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, lethargy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, concentration problems, and suicidal thoughts. Manic depression symptoms and cyclothymic depression symptoms include the above during the depression phase alternating with mania symptoms of high energy, euphoria, distractability, poor judgment, and sleeplessness. Some people with bipolar disorder experience a mixed state of simultaneous mania and depression.

How is depression diagnosed?
Depression is diagnosed by physicians relying on established criteria for each type of depression in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV). Symptoms are categorized as affective (mood), behavioral (withdrawal or agitation), cognitive (concentration), and somatic (physical). Symptoms must be experienced for at least 2 weeks for diagnosis of any of the types of depression. Depression disorders may go unrecognized and be viewed as work, school, or interpersonal problems.

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