What is Depression?
Depression is the physical and mental state characterized by moodiness and that 'blue' feeling. Life seems to lose its savor, your energy disappears, and your interest in the world around you evaporates. Those activities that gave you pleasure in the past no longer hold any appeal. Life goes flat . . . and then you have the subjective sense of going into a pit.

Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in women. In fact, evidence shows that as many as 20% of women and 10% of men experience a significant clinical depression at least once in their lifetime. Depression can begin at any age, with an average age of onset in the mid-20s. Typically depression involves changes in mood and in your patterns of physiological functioning. These would include: changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and energy level. Certain medical conditions such as hormonal imbalances (particularly an under functioning thyroid gland), head trauma or anemia may sometimes mimic depression.

Sometimes depression is difficult to discern. Oftentimes irritability, anger, and even rage are symptoms that mask an underlying depression. This particular pattern happens somewhat more frequently in men than in women. Another pattern that often indicates an underlying depression is a disinterest in life. You have a sense of the 'blahs' - nothing around you is interesting or rejuvenating. Everything is just the sameold sameold. Since depression can manifest in these hidden ways, it is often useful to go see a therapist is you have some concerns about your mental state.


What causes depression?

There are over twenty different and distinct origins for depressed mood. They range from the aftermath of the common cold - you have depressive symptoms for a week or two after you recover - to faulty ways of thinking about things, to the death of a loved one or some other major loss. As you can imagine, these different causes call for different kinds of treatment.


[How Can I Tell if I'm Depressed?]


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