Harvard Health Letter

Depression: Is it just a slump or something more?

It's important for both your physical and emotional well-being to get help as soon as you suspect it.

It's normal to get the blues occasionally, but if things turn a little blacker, it may be time to take your symptoms more seriously. One in 10 people in the United States has depression, a condition that can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as aches and pains, fatigue, and changes in sleep or appetite. People who have depression are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and possibly dementia.

There are many forms of depression, with symptoms ranging from mild mood swings to extreme symptoms that interfere with the ability to function normally. What's the tip-off that you need help? "If you're wondering if maybe you're depressed, that's a signal you should go and see someone," says Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

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