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Depression facts

  • A depressive disorder is a syndrome (group of symptoms) that reflects a sad, blue mood exceeding normal sadness or grief.
  • Depressive disorders are characterized not only by negative thoughts, moods, and behaviors but also by specific changes in bodily functions (for example, eating, sleeping, and sexual activity).
  • One in 10 people will have a depressive disorder in their lifetime, and in one of 10 cases, the depression is a fatal disease as a result of suicide.
  • Some types of depression, especially bipolar depression, run in families.
  • While there are many social, psychological, and environmental risk factors for developing depression, some are particularly prevalent in one gender or the other, or in particular age or ethnic groups.
  • There can be some differences in symptoms of depression depending on age, gender, and ethnicity.
  • Depression is diagnosed only clinically in that there is no laboratory test or X-ray for depression. Therefore, it is crucial to see a health professional as soon as you notice symptoms of depression in yourself, your friends, or family.
  • The first step in getting appropriate treatment is a complete physical and psychological evaluation to determine whether the person, in fact, has a depressive disorder.
  • Depression is not a weakness but a serious illness with biological, psychological, and social aspects to its cause, symptoms, and treatment. A person cannot will it away. Untreated, it will worsen. Undertreated, it will return.
  • There are many safe and effective medications, particularly the SSRIs, that can be of great help in depression.
  • For full recovery from a mood disorder, regardless of whether there is a precipitating factor or it seems to come out of the blue, treatments with medications and/or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and psychotherapy are necessary.
  • In the future, through depression research and education, we will continue to improve our treatments, decrease society's burden, and hopefully improve prevention of this illness.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2014

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Depression Symptoms

Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood and is more than a case of persistent sadness.

Symptoms of depression also include

  • feelings of worthlessness,
  • hopelessness,
  • helplessness,
  • guilt,
  • lack of interest in daily activities,
  • irritability,
  • loss of energy,
  • loss of appetite,
  • sleep problems,
  • self-loathing,
  • thoughts of suicide.