Many people may get the blues when dealing with life’s normal challenges and stresses. If you have the blues, you may feel sad and have less energy for awhile, but you can manage the situation and recover without treatment. In contrast, clinical depression lasts more than 2 weeks and affects your ability to function normally, work and have satisfying personal relationships.
When you are depressed, you may feel sad, anxious, guilty, helpless or hopeless, and experience mood swings. You may be worried, pessimistic, have impaired memory or concentration, and have thoughts of death or suicide. You may have crying spells, withdraw from others, and lose interest in your appearance. You may also have changes in your eating and sleeping habits.
Children can also experience depression but often have different symptoms than adults. They may be angry, aggressive or demonstrate other behavior problems at home or at school. They may also experience thoughts of hurting themselves or others. They may have significant changes in their social functioning or have changes in their school performance and grades.
Depression is believed to result from a biochemical imbalance and is not a sign of a character weakness.