Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders. It may be experienced as feelings of sadness, irritability, or, in some cases, thoughts of or plans for suicide. Many describe depression as viewing life through a “fog of despair”. Sometimes depression symptoms are confused with medical issues and can include: appetite disturbance with weight gain or loss, changes in sleep patterns or needs, and increased fatigue. Some people do not recognize their symptoms as part of a depressive illness, but instead interpret those feelings as signs of inadequacy. These symptoms may include feeling: discouraged, a failure, guilty, deserving of punishment, disappointed in self, indecisive, unattractive, less interested in sex, or lacking social confidence and comfort. Although medical problems can cause depression, the reverse may also be true as depression may be experienced as pain and lack of energy.

Depression is more than just a passing mood and, without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression. Dealing with depression may involve talking with a trained professional. In some cases, dealing with depression is facilitated by taking medication specifically designed to deal with the problem.

The depressed person is often surprised that after successful treatment for depression, not only is the sadness gone, but the symptoms related to feeling inadequate or physically unhealthy are eliminated. As the depression diminishes, there is a notable improvement of the quality and enjoyment of life. Many people never seek help for depression, even though the majority will respond to treatment. Treating depression is especially important because it affects you, your family, and your work.

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