Depression

Depression is an illness that causes a person to feel sad and hopeless for much of the time. It is different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy.

People who are depressed may also:

  • Lose interest in things they have enjoyed in the past.
  • Think and speak more slowly than normal.
  • Have trouble concentrating, remembering, and making decisions.
  • Have changes in their eating and sleeping habits.
  • Be preoccupied with death and/or suicide.
  • Have feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness.

Depression affects men and women of all ages and has often been shown to run in families. A person can have one or many episodes of depression in a lifetime. Each episode of depression makes a person more likely to have another episode of depression.

Most people who are depressed get better with medicine, counseling, or a combination of the two. Some people with depression may need to be hospitalized.

Last Updated: March 13, 2009

Author: Jeannette Curtis & Paul Lehnert

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Catherine D. Serio, PhD - Behavioral Health & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry & Peter Hauser, MD - Psychiatry

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