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Signs of Depression

By

Updated June 15, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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Loss of Interest in Activities
John's a high-powered executive who usually thrives on the work he does. But now he doesn't care. He misses deadlines. He doesn't return all his calls or even answer all his email. Instead of working, he plays computer solitaire as much as he can.

Tina's love is outdoor exercise. Normally, she walks five miles a few times each week, goes hiking or canoeing on weekends, and takes vacations where she can ski or go rock-climbing. But during a depression, she sits at home. If she does go out for a walk, she cuts it short.

For Andy, life is all about socializing. He gives parties often, goes to them even more, and if there isn't a party on a given night, he gets together with friends. But now he turns down invitations, or accepts them and then doesn't show up. His apartment, usually a model of neatness because it's on display so often, grows sloppy. He goes straight home after work and doesn't do much of anything.

Lorna, a homemaker, has always taken pride in her house and garden. But this year the plants she bought haven't been replanted into her garden, her kitchen floor hasn't been washed in weeks, and dishes are piling up in the sink because she hasn't even cared to take the clean ones out of the dishwasher for several days.

All of our subjects are experiencing their own forms of the clinical symptom "loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities."

In order for a person to be diagnosed with major depression or bipolar depression, he or she must have either a depressed mood, loss of interest in the activities they usually enjoy, or both. In our scenario, all four of our subjects have symptoms in both categories.

In addition, for a diagnosis of a depressive episode to be made, the person must show at least three to four other signs of depression out of the seven categories that follow.

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