Depression of any kind can cause feelings of sadness and a decreased ability to enjoy life. But atypical depression includes these main signs and symptoms:

  • Depression that temporarily lifts when you're cheered up by good news or positive events but returns later
  • Increased appetite with unintentional weight gain
  • Increased desire to sleep, usually more than 10 hours a day
  • Heavy, leaden feeling in your arms and legs that lasts an hour or more in a day
  • Trouble maintaining long-lasting relationships because of sensitivity to rejection or criticism, which affects your relationships, social life or job

When to see a doctor

If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. Depression may get worse if it isn't treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental and physical health problems or problems in other areas of your life. Feelings of depression can also lead to suicide.

If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, a spiritual leader or someone in your faith community.
  • Call a suicide hotline number — in the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press 1 to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor, mental health provider or other health care provider.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

If you have a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Sep. 20, 2012