We all experience ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s difficulties. But depression is much more than just sadness.

Depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness are intense and overwhelming, with little, if any relief.

Common signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Inability to feel joy or pleasure
  • Change of appetite; significant weight loss or gain
  • Problems with sleeping; either too much or too little
  • Feeling irritated and agitated, feeling fatigued/no energy
  • Feeling worthless
  • Problems concentrating
  • Physical complaints

Depression can affect children, teens, men, women and older adults, but may look very different from person to person. A depressed teen may be grumpy or hostile. An older adult may complain more about physical symptoms. A man may be more irritable, and a woman may have changes in sleeping and eating.

Some causes and risks for depression can include: loneliness, lack of social supports, recent stress, family history of depression, relationship problems, financial strain, early childhood abuse, alcohol and drug abuse, unemployment, health problems or chronic pain.

Some ways to manage depression include getting regular exercise and sleep, eating well, practicing relaxation, managing stress and maintaining supportive relationships.

SmartCare is partnering with your Health Care Providers to ensure the support you may be seeking.