Everyone feels sad from time to time, but for some 14.8 million American adults, depression is a constant. Depression is an illness that affects both the mind and the body. Also referred to as major depression, clinical depression, and clinical depressive disorder, the condition lasts for long periods of time, and interferes with the ability to lead a normal life. Unfortunately, over half of those suffering from depression do not seek help for the mental illness. But this can be life threatening! More than ten percent of people with depression commit suicide. To prevent this devastating outcome, it's vital to understand of the common symptoms of depression! Mentally, feelings of hopelessness and pessimism as well as feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing, usually accompany the condition. Often, people with depression report a loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities, including sex. They may experience problems concentrating and making decisions. Physically, people with major depressive disorder may experience appetite loss, and consequent weight loss. On the other hand, they can also fall victim to emotional eating and gain weight. Many depressed individuals report sleep changes, either insomnia, which is the inability to sleep or hypersomnia, which involves oversleeping regularly. As a result, feelings of lethargy and sluggishness are also common. It's not unusual for depressed individuals to report aches and pains, including headaches and cramps as well as digestive problems. Of course, not every depressed individual will experience the exact same set of symptoms. A person's age and gender also play a role in how the illness manifests. For example, elderly people with depression often complain more about physical symptoms, neglecting to mention emotional ones. Meanwhile, depressed teens are more likely to appear irritable and hostile. And no matter their age, women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men. Though for females, it's often easier to admit to depressive feelings, which leads to higher treatment rates among this demographic. Men, meanwhile, are more likely to complain of fatigue and loss of interest in once pleasurable activities. The good news is that pharmacological and psychological treatments for major depression are very effective for sufferers of all ages and genders! So if you are experiencing any of the above signs of depression, don't wait. Make an appointment with a doctor immediately!
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012