DEAR ABBY: I am 18 years old and would like to know what kinds of symptoms show that it's time for counseling -- depression, mood swings, etc. -- CONSIDERING IT IN OHIO
DEAR CONSIDERING IT: You have asked an important question. Everybody experiences sadness at some point, but sadness that doesn't go away can actually be depression, a medical condition. Anyone, regardless of age, who experiences any five of the following symptoms for two weeks or more should discuss it with a mental health professional:
1. Feeling of sadness and/or irritability.
2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
3. Changes in weight and appetite.
4. Changes in sleep patterns.
5. Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless.
6. Inability to concentrate, remember things or make decisions.
7. Restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others.
8. Fatigue or loss of energy.
9. Thoughts of death or suicide.