Recognizing depression

Are you feeling sad or down, and wondering whether you might be depressed? A certain amount of grieving and sadness is a normal reaction to being diagnosed with MS or experiencing disability due to MS. But having these feelings linger is not normal, and may be a sign of depression.

The main symptoms of depression are:

  • depressed mood (feeling sad, empty, or hopeless)
  • loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • loss or gain of more than 5% of your body weight in a month (if not dieting or pregnant)
  • sleeping longer or more often, or having difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • fatigue or lack of energy
  • restlessness or slowing down (mentally and physically)
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions
  • thoughts of death or suicide

With depression, these symptoms usually occur nearly every day, last for most of the day, and continue for at least 2 weeks. If these symptoms (especially depressed mood or loss of interest/pleasure) have been affecting your life and your ability to function at home or at work, you may be depressed.

Keep in mind that MS itself may cause some of these symptoms, such as fatigue, loss of energy, or trouble concentrating. If you think you may be depressed, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Depression can be successfully treated, and it's important to catch it early so that effective treatment can be started.

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