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Updated on June 12, 2009


Life is full of emotional ups and downs. However, when the "down" times are long lasting or when they get in the way with your ability to function, you may be suffering from a common, serious illness-depression. Clinical depression affects mood, mind, body, and behavior. Research has shown that in the United States about 19 million people suffer from depression. Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in over 80 percent of the cases. Yet, because it is often not recognized, depression continues to cause unnecessary suffering.

Although depression affects both women and men, women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men. Researchers continue to explore how special issues unique to women-biological, life cycle, and psychosocial factors-may be associated with women's remain unclear. Many women exposed to these conditions do not develop depression is a highly treatable illness.

Depression affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. The right treatment, however, can help most people who have depression. The symptoms of depression vary from person to person, and the strength of the symptoms depends on the severity of the depression. Depression causes changes in thinking, feeling, behavior, and physical well-being.


Serious depressions-see your doctor or other health care professional right away!

1. Major depression is the most common and serious type of depression. It has a distinct beginning, can occur once, twice, or be recurrent. This condition affects a person's abilities and habits in almost all areas of life. Suicidal thinking or suicide attempts can be a real concern. If you have a major depression, you may have some of these symptoms nearly every day, all day, for 2 weeks or longer:

  • Feeling sad or crying a lot
  • Losing interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy (including sex)
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thinking about death or suicide
  • Sleeping too much, or not being able to go to sleep or stay asleep
  • Losing your appetite and losing weight (or eating too much and gaining weight)
  • Feeling very tired or slowed down
  • Having trouble paying attention and making decisions
  • Having aches and pains that don't get better with treatment

2. Bipolar illness involves cycles of depressive symptoms that alternate with mania. During manic episodes, people may become overly active, talkative, euphoric, and irritable.

3. Pospartum depression (PPD) is prevalent in approximately 10% of mothers in the first year after giving birth. PPD is caused by a rapid change in hormones after giving birth. In its mild form, it is called the "baby blues." If it lasts over a month, it can become very serious, endangering both the health of the mother and the baby.

Other mood disorders

  • Dysthymia is a chronic mild depression. People with dysthymia frequently lack a zest for life, living a joyless and fatigued existence. Some with dysthymia report that "things are going great" in their life and do not understand why they are depressed. Major depression may accompany dysthymia, which is sometimes termed "double depression."
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression that occurs during the specific seasons or times of the year when there is less sunshine.
  • Premenstrual dysphoria disorder (PDD)--previously called PMS--is a condition which causes women to experience mood changes in the weeks prior to their menstrual period, due to hormonal changes.
  • Situation depression is the feeling of situational blues after a specific event such as conflict at work, a speific loss (such as a death or divorce), or a particular financial stress.


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    • shegarlynn profile image

      shegarlynn 8 years ago from United States


      Thanks you like this hub, and thanks for commenting

      Hope you will visit again.


      Im glad you like this hub, thanks for your comment.

      hope you will visit again.

    • ameliehub profile image

      ameliehub 8 years ago from UK

      shegarlynn nice hub. thanks for the useful information.

    • sukkran profile image

      Mohideen Basha 8 years ago from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.

      great informative hub. i posted it in my facebook profile. nice work and thumbs up