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What Is Depression?

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Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how a person feels, the way he or she thinks and how the person acts. Depression has a variety of symptoms, but the most common are a deep feeling of sadness or a marked loss of interest or pleasure in normal daily activities. Other symptoms include:

  • Changes in appetite that result in weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide.

Depression is common. It affects nearly 1 in 10 adults each year—nearly twice as many women as men. It’s also important to note that depression can take place at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Depression is also common in older adults. Fortunately, depression is treatable.