Quinn Emanuel partner Joseph Milowic. Photo: David Handschuh/NYLJ.

Depression is a mental condition that affects millions of Americans each year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 16 million Americans have suffered at least one major depressive episode in 2016. Knowing how to identify the common symptoms of depression is an important step toward getting help. Typical signs of depression include:

* Depressed mood that may present as feeling sad, empty or hopeless.

* A noticeable decreased interest in activities that were once pleasurable.

* Eating too much or too little.

* Sleeping too much or too little.

* Fatigue or loss of energy.

* Trouble concentrating or trouble making even basic decisions.

* Thoughts of harming yourself.

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While these are common symptoms of major depressive disorder it is important to note that depression affects everyone differently. For some people it may present as mood swings with highs and lows, for others it could mean irritability or a pervasive low mood sometimes lasting for years at a time. Unfortunately for many people these challenges can have a significant impact on their day to day functioning.

Seeing a therapist can be a powerful tool in the fight against mental illness. A trained mental health professional will work to identify symptoms through personalized assessments and explore appropriate treatment options. Unlike medications, which may be helpful in treating biological sources of depression, therapy offers the advantage of getting to the root of our issues and teaching coping strategies to change the way we view and deal with our problems.

Depression has a way of making things seem like they will never get better. If you notice yourself exhibiting signs of depression, you can get help. Change is possible. No one should have to fight depression alone, and no one has to. Mental health professionals are specially trained to help identify problems and to develop strategies to help you fight back, all while protecting your privacy. If you are in need, please seek help today.

Colin Jamron is a licensed mental health counselor with a MA degree from New York University and is the lead clinician at Jamron Counseling.