What Is Depression?

Depression is a serious medical illness that has a big effect on how you feel, the way you think and how you act.

Depression has different symptoms, the most common being either a deep feeling of sadness or a marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities.

Other symptoms can include:
• Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting
• Insomnia or oversleeping
• Loss of energy or increased fatigue
• Restlessness or irritability
• Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
• Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
• Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide.

Depression is common. It affects nearly one in 10 adults each year
It is important to note that depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Depression is also common in older adults.

Fortunately, depression is very treatable.
Depression is different than sadness.  Sadness as a result of losing a loved one, a job, or a relationship is normal.  It comes with the loss, and lessens with time.  On the other hand, depression can go on for months or years.

Sometimes mild depression can be controlled simply by exercise, changing diet, or taking a vacation.  However, it is not unusual for these strategies not to work.  Depression is, however, among the most treatable of mental disorders.  Between 80% and 90% of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.  Effective treatment most often involves some combination of talk therapy and medication.

Depression is never normal.  It involves needless suffering because most people with depression can recover with the right help. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression, we recommend talking with your family doctor, or a mental health professional.  There are treatments that work.