What is depression? We all have days that are not our best. We feel low and we are not really in a mood to make small talk or engage in banter at the water cooler. This mood may be a result of a tiff with a loved one, spouse or child, or it could be an unpleasant work situation in the back of your mind. These transient moods usually disappear in a day and they are TRANSIENT. However, when this mood of almost constant negativity, isolation or a general feeling of hopelessness continues for several days, it indicates a likely clinical condition. It may be time to seek help. Depression is a serious medical illness, which can impact life in numerous ways.  It is a common misconception that, a depressed person has to feel sad or depressed all the time to be diagnosed with Depression.


Depression is an insidious illness and creeps up slowly. It can start with feelings of low energy, and a sense of difficulty getting out of bed. Everyday tasks seem to take a lot of energy. Often,  one can have trouble coping with work, or easily stressed by small disturbances at work or home.  Family members and co-workers may notice that you get easily annoyed and irritable with them. Often times, people hold on to their emotions and stress at work. Once they are home, however, they tend to erupt at their family members at the slightest provocation. This can lead to further deterioration of the person’s mood and their relationships.

Another common symptom is lack of joy in life. A person may feel no excitement or enthusiasm for activities they previously enjoyed. This is a serious symptom and needs medical attention since it takes longer to treat.  This lack of enthusiasm can manifest as not wanting to meet with friends or family. Contrary to their usual self, a person may be isolating herself or himself. A person suffering from Depression may have a disturbed sleep. They may have trouble falling asleep, wake up several times through the night or wake up very early in the morning and then are unable to go back to sleep. They commonly have difficulty controlling their food intake, and among women, it is quite common to have increased carbohydrate and sweet cravings.

Difficulty concentrating and completing work on time can become an issue. This symptom often leads people to think they may have ADHD or Attention Deficit Disorder. Depression often coexists with anxiety. A person with depression feels overwhelmed easily when dealing with day to day tasks, they tire easily as well.

A person suffering from depression can worsen the condition if there are other stressors in his or her life, such as relationship issues or a difficult work situation.

If a person has these symptoms for at least 2 weeks, they will benefit from a professional medical evaluation. One can obtain a recommendation from their Primary Care Physician for a Psychiatric evaluation. Many primary care physicians are comfortable treating simple depression, however an expert evaluation from a Psychiatrist may be needed to look into other contributing factors.

If clinical depression is not adequately addressed, it can become resistant to treatment and may lead to further complications with impaired relationships both at home and work. It can also increase risk for illnesses such as Diabetes and Heart disease in the long run.

Dr. Hima Ravi, MD, is a Child Psychiatrist and an Adult Psychiatrist practicing in Cary, North Carolina. She can be reached at her practice at .