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16.10.2008 Health

Bipolar Disorder and Depression Symptoms

By Cleveland Clinic

These depressed feelings have been described this way:
Depression: I doubt completely my ability to do anything well. It seems as though my mind has slowed down and burned out to the point of being virtually useless... . [I am] haunt[ed] ... with the total, the desperate hopelessness of it all. Others say, "It's only temporary, it will pass, you will get over it," but, of course, they haven't any idea of how I feel, although they are certain they do. If I can't feel, move, think, or care, then what on earth is the point?

An episode of depression involves five or more of these symptoms most of the day -- nearly every day -- for two weeks or longer:

Symptoms of depression:

* Sadness, anxiety, irritability
* Loss of energy
* Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
* Loss of interest or enjoyment from things that were once pleasurable
* Difficulty concentrating
* Uncontrollable crying
* Difficulty making decisions
* Increased need for sleep
* Insomnia
* Change in appetite causing weight loss or gain
* Thoughts of death or suicide
* Attempting suicide

When a person with psychosis is depressed, there may be delusions of guilt or worthlessness -- perhaps there is an inaccurate belief of being ruined and penniless, or having committed a terrible crime.
If untreated, episodes of depression tend to come closer together and are harder to treat. They may switch into mania. But treatment can prevent this from happening. With medication and therapy, its possible to live normally -- to have a happy, productive life.
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Psychiatry and Psychology.

WebMD Medical Reference provided in collaboration with the Cleveland Clinic
SOURCES: WebMD Medical Reference with The Cleveland Clinic: "Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)." WebMD Assess Plus: Bipolar Disorder Assessment. National Institute for Mental Health: "Step-BD Womens Studies." Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic & Research Program. MedicineNet.com: "Bipolar Disorder (Mania)." WebMD Medical Reference with The Cleveland Clinic: "Effects of Untreated Depression." American Psychiatric Association: "Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients With Bipolar Disorder."

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on August 27, 2008
Portions of this page © Cleveland Clinic 2008

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