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Depression affects your body, actions, thoughts, and mood. Left untreated, depression can last for days, months, or years. Depression is more serious than just feeling sad. Depression affects all areas of life and ranges from mild mood swings to severe negative feelings that disrupt daily life. Depression can also lead to suicidal thoughts. Instead of hoping that your depressing thoughts and feelings will go away after time, you can reach out for help from a healthcare professional. You can learn and practice skills to cope with depression.

People who are depressed may suffer from any of the following symptoms:

  1. Physical symptoms. You may have heard someone say “I feel physically depressed.” This often can refer to having decreased energy and fatigue, feeling slow or sluggish, weight loss or gains, or having headaches, stomach problems and maybe chronic pains.
  2. Thinking concerns. Negative thoughts about your life, the world, or your future can be a sign of depression. Someone who is depressed may have problems with their memory or concentrating and paying attention. It is common to feel a sense of hopelessness, excessive pessimism or negativity. Thoughts of death or suicide are serious and require immediate treatment by a healthcare professional.
  3. Changes in mood. Sadness and emptiness are most often associated with depression. It is not uncommon to feel restless, annoyed, nervous, angry, guilty or regretful. You may even feel more than one of these at a time.
  4. Behavior concerns. Depression can lead to isolation and less interest or pleasure in hobbies, activities and sex. Sleeping too much or too little as well as eating more or less than usual are signs of depression. You may take more dangerous risks or more frequently use tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and/or caffeine. Don’t be surprised if you laugh or cry at odd moments.

How do you know if you have depression? When should you consider getting help from a health care professional? If you’re concerned about symptoms you’ve been having, consider taking the self-assessment for depression. It’s an anonymous assessment that will provide results and recommendations for the next steps. It will also include self-help materials and other resources.
For more questions or answers about depression, please visit the VA National Center for PTSD website.


Take a Self-Assessment

Welcome to the Depression Assessment

Completing this questionnaire should take about five minutes. When you've completed the assessment, your results will be returned along with some resources you're sure to find helpful.

Because your privacy is of utmost importance, we do not collect any personal health information (PHI). For more information about the use of PHI and your personal privacy, please visit the Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Transparency Division of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Important Note

While this tool can help you determine if you need additional help, only a health care professional can provide an accurate diagnosis.

Please check, "I Acknowledge" below to confirm that you have read and understand these statements as they have been presented to you.

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless?

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling tired or having little energy?

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by poor appetite or overeating?

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling bad about yourself – or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?

During the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed. Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual?

During the last month, how often have you been bothered by thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself in some way?

Although only a healthcare professional can provide a diagnosis, your responses suggest that you are not experiencing symptoms associated with depression.



  • Consult with your health care provider if you have questions (or find a doctor on the TRICARE website).
  • For immediate help, visit the Veteran Crisis Line for text support or call 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1).
  • Learn about other health issues that often relate to depression: sleep, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and stress.

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