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Depression

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.


Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

    -Feeling sad or having a depressed mood

    -Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed

    -Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting

    -Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

    -Loss of energy or increased fatigue

    -Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech          (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)

    -Feeling worthless or guilty

    -Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions

    -Thoughts of death or suicide


Symptoms must last at least two weeks and must represent a change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression.


Also, medical conditions (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumor or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes.