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Could You Be Depressed?

If you've been feeling listless for weeks, you may be tempted to blame it on the pressures of parenting. But you could be ignoring something more serious. "Anyone with young kids can be exhausted and over-whelmed, but if you aren't taking pleasure in being with your child or you feel like you want to escape, something else may be going on," says William Beardslee, M.D., author of Out of the Darkened Room: Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family When a Parent Is Depressed.

Depression increases the risk of chronic ailments, including heart disease. It can also affect your child: Moms suffering from depression are less likely to praise their kids or be involved in their lives, according to a 15-year study by Dr. Beardslee.

Talk to your doctor if you've been unusually fatigued or have had any of the following symptoms for two weeks or more:

  • increase or decrease in appetite, with weight gain or loss of ten pounds or more
  • a change in your sleeping pattern
  • agitation or sluggishness
  • feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • inability to make decisions

The encouraging news: Depression is highly treatable. A combination of therapy and medication is successful in 70 to 80 percent of patients.