When your favorite haunt no longer lures you, or you just feel hopeless, you may be depressed, says Kim Lebowitz Feingold, assistant professor of psychiatry at Northwestern University and a clinical psychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Symptoms of depression include apathy (especially loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable), feelings of hopelessness or pessimism, sleep and appetite problems, lack of concentration or memory loss, feelings of guilt, and thoughts about suicide or harming yourself. The illness affects 6.7 percent of American adults, according to the National Institutes of Health.
“If you’re sad and have at least four of a cluster of symptoms for at least two weeks, that’s the definition of clinical depression,” Feingold says.
What to do? Let your doctor know how you feel. He or she may prescribe antidepressants and may suggest cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you reframe hopeless thoughts, Feingold says. Key too is engaging in activities that you like with friends and family, and exercising up to 30 minutes a day on most days.