Major depressive disorder history and symptoms
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Clinical depression can present with a variety of symptoms, but almost all patients display a marked change in mood, a deep feeling of sadness, and a noticeable loss of interest or pleasure in favorite activities.
History and Symptoms
Clinical depression can present with a variety of symptoms, but almost all patients display a marked change in mood, a deep feeling of sadness, and a noticeable loss of interest or pleasure in favorite activities.  Other symptoms include:
- Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood
- Loss of appetite and/or weight loss or conversely overeating and weight gain
- Insomnia, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Restlessness or irritability
- Psychomotor agitation or psychomotor retardation
- Feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed
- Withdrawal from social situations, family and friends
- Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down" or sluggish
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive problems, and chronic pain
Not all patients will present every symptom, and the severity of symptoms will vary widely among individuals. Symptoms must, however, persist for at least two weeks before being considered a potential sign of depression, with the exception of suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Diagnosis of clinical depression in children is more difficult than in adults and is often left undiagnosed, and thus untreated because the symptoms in children are often written off as normal childhood moodiness. Diagnosis is also made difficult because children are more likely than adults to show different symptoms depending on the situation.
While some children still function reasonably well, most who are suffering from depression will suffer from a noticeable change in their social activities and life, a loss of interest in school and poor academic performance, and possibly drastic changes in appearance. They may also begin abusing drugs and/or alcohol, particularly past the age of 12. Although much rarer than in adults, children with major depression may attempt suicide or have suicidal thoughts even before the age of 12.