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Signs & Symptoms

Montachusett Suicide Prevention Task Force

If you are feeling depressed, tell someone about your symptoms. Speak with a doctor, nurse, psychologist, social worker, or employee assistance professional.

Asking for help takes courage, but it can make all the difference.

If you are experiencing some of the following symptoms, you may have a depressive illness. Ask yourself if you are feeling:

  • sad or “empty”
  • irritable or angry
  • guilty or worthless
  • pessimistic or hopeless
  • tired or “slowed down”
  • restless or agitated
  • like no one cares about you
  • or like life is not worth living

You may also:

  • sleep more or less than usual
  • be engaged in escapist behavior like spending more time than usual on work or on sports
  • eat more or less than usual
  • have abused alcohol or illegal or illicit substances
  • have engaged in reckless or risky behavior
  • have persistent headaches, stomachaches or chronic pain
  • have trouble concentrating, remembering things or making decisions
  • lose interest in work, family, hobbies or other once pleasurable activities
  • lose interest in sex

If these symptoms are familiar, it’s time to talk with your doctor. Lab tests and an exam will help rule out other conditions that may have the same symptoms as depression. Your doctor may also be able to determine whether certain medications or a medical condition is affecting your mood. Tell your doctor when your symptoms started, how long they have lasted, how bad they are, whether they have occurred before, and if so, how they were treated, and whether there is a history of depression in your family.

With the right diagnosis and treatment, most men with depression can get better and gain back their interest in their work, family and hobbies. Depression is a real, medical illness that can be successfully treated, most often with medication, psychotherapy (“talk” therapy), or a combination of both. Support from family and friends plays an important role as well.

The truth is depression is a real and treatable illness.

Warning Signs of Suicide

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide can be prevented. While some suicides occur without any outward warning, most people who are suicidal do give warnings. Prevent the suicide of loved ones by learning to recognize the signs of someone at risk, taking those signs seriously and knowing how to respond to them.

Observable signs of serious depression

  • Unrelenting low mood
  • Pessimism
  • Hopelessness
  • Desperation
  • Anxiety, psychic pain and inner tension
  • Withdrawal
  • Sleep problems
  • Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
  • Recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
  • Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die

Making a plan

  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm
  • Obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications
  • Unexpected rage or anger

The emotional crises that usually precede suicide are often recognizable and treatable. Although most depressed people are not suicidal, most suicidal people are depressed. Serious depression can be manifested in obvious sadness, but often it is rather expressed as a loss of pleasure or withdrawal from activities that had been enjoyable. One can help prevent suicide through early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.