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Depression is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires understanding and medical care. Depression can be devastating for the people who have it and for their families if left untreated. With early detection, diagnosis and a treatment plan consisting of medication, psychotherapy and lifestyle choices, many people get better. Some only have one episode in a lifetime, but for most depression recurs. Episodes may last a few months to several years, if left untreated. Those with severe depression can become hopeless and are a high risk for suicide.

Common Symptoms
  • Changes in sleep

  • Changes in appetite

  • Lack of concentration

  • Loss of energy

  • Lack of interest

  • Low self-esteem

  • Hopelessness

  • Changes in movement

  • Physical aches and pains



Depression does not have a single cause. It can be triggered, or it may occur spontaneously without being associated with a life crisis, physical illness or other risk. Scientist believe several factors contribute to cause depression:

  • Trauma

  • Genetics

  • Life circumstances

  • Brain structure

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Other medical conditions


To be diagnosed with depression, a person must have experienced a major depressive episode that has lasted longer than two weeks. Symptoms of a major depressive episode include:

  • Loss of interest or loss of pleasure in all activities

  • Change in appetite or weight

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Feeling agitated or fatigue

  • Feelings of low self-worth

  • Guilt of shortcomings

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

  • Suicidal thoughts or intentions

Depressive Disorders:
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

  • Major Depressive Disorder

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder


Depression often responds to treatment, although it can be a devastating illness. The key is to get a specific evaluation and treatment plan. There are a variety of treatment options available for people with depression today, including:

  • Medications

  • Psychotherapy

  • Brain stimulation therapies

  • Light therapy

  • Exercise

  • Alternative therapies

  • Self-management strategies in education

  • Mind/body/spirit approaches

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