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What is Major Depression?

 

Depression is a whole body illness that affects a person's physical health as well as how he or she feels, thinks, and behaves towards others.  In addition, a person who suffers from this disorder may have problems eating, sleeping, working, and getting along with his/her friends. 

Specifically, clinical depression is a persistent, depressed mood that is often characterized by feelings of sadness or emptiness.  People who have depression, or more formally, Major Depressive Disorder, experience at least five of the following symptoms, nearly every day, for a period of at least two weeks:

Sad, low, empty, depressed mood

Loss of interest of pleasure in nearly all activities

Feelings of worthlessness, or guilt

Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions

Decreased energy, fatigue, and feeling "slowed down"

Changes in appetite and/or weight

Oversleeping, early-morning awakening, or insomnia

Thoughts of death, suicide, plans or attempts

These episodes are also accompanied by clinically significant distress, or impairment (interference) in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.  If impairment is severe, the person might lose the ability to function socially or occupationally.