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Depression is a common but serious mental illness that causes intense feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. Individuals with depression may exhibit changes in appetite, changes in sleep, loss of energy, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Signs of depression appear almost all day every day for a period of at least two weeks. Depression leads to a range of emotional and physical problems that affect functioning at school and at home.

Signs of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Tearfulness
  • Irritable mood
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Appetite changes and weight changes (i.e. gain or loss)
  • Sleep changes (i.e. insomnia or hypersomnia)
  • Feelings of restlessness (i.e. inability to sit still)
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Excessive guilt
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death

Though feelings of intense sadness, and perhaps even sleep changes and appetite changes, may accompany a significant loss, depression is above and beyond what is considered understandable or appropriate to the loss.

Depression in Teens

Depression oftentimes presents differently in teens than it does in adults. An important identifying sign of adolescent depression is irritability. Teenagers seem angry and short-fused rather than tearful, so the depression may be hard to spot.

Withdrawal from activities that they typically enjoy is another important sign. Teens that are depressed might seem less motivated to see friends and/or participate in activities that they once found fun.


If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of hurting themselves or someone else, or is in immediate danger because of a mental health condition or other situation, call 911 immediately.