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Health >Depression


Everyone feels sad at times or inexplicably tearful or just plain "down." These uncomfortable feelings are part of life. But when they persist, affecting the way one eats and sleeps, feels about oneself, and thinks about family, friends, and work, then they are not just a part of life, but symptoms of a clinical illness.

Three types of depressive disorders are most common. A major depression interferes with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode may happen only once in a lifetime, but more commonly it occurs several times. Dysthymia is the term used to describe long-term symptoms that, while not disabling, keep one from functioning well or feeling good. Another type of depressive condition is bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, which is characterized by severe highs (mania) and lows (depression).

In any one-year period, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 18.8 million American adults, suffer from a depressive disorder. Depression can strike anyone regardless of age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or gender. However, large-scale studies have found that depression is about twice as common in women as in men.

The economic cost of these disorders is high--some estimates put the annual workplace cost of depression in America at over $40 billion. But the cost in terms of human suffering is incalculable. Depressive illnesses bring pain and suffering not only to those who have the disorder but also to those who care about them and for them. Indeed, one individual's depression can reverberate throughout an entire family. Also, most suicides are the result of untreated depression.

But today much of this suffering is unnecessary. Over the past 20 years, biomedical research has shed considerable light on depression, and, as a result, new medications and psychosocial therapies exist to help depressed people. As more people recognize that these illnesses are treatable, more are rediscovering their sense of optimism and purpose through appropriate treatment.

Deal with depression - Biological and environmental factors can cause depression...

Types of depression - There are several types of depression...

Causes of depression - Some types of depression run in families, ....

Symptoms of depression - When a person is clinically depressed,.....

Depression treatments -The most effective treatment....

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