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(Major Depression, Dysthymia, Seasonal Affective Disorder , Postpartum Depression)

What is depression?

Depression is a serious psychiatric condition that affects a personís mood, thinking, and behavior.

Below are common symptoms of depression:

  • Feeling sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Loss of interest in things that you normally enjoy (e.g., hobbies, work, sex)
  • Appetite changes (e.g., loss of appetite or a significant increase in appetite)
  • Feeling like your movements are slower than normal, or that your arms or legs are heavier than normal, or feeling more restless or fidgety than usual
  • Decreased energy or motivation
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks or activities or difficulty making decisions
  • Major changes in sleep patterns (sleeping two hours more or less than normal)
  • Excessive feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, wishing you were dead, or thoughts about suicide

Depression can manifest itself in different ways:

Major Depression is a disorder in which a person has at least one (but typically more than one) episode of depression characterized by at least five of the symptoms above lasting for at least two weeks.

Dysthymia is a long-lasting form of depression in which the symptoms are not severe enough to meet the criteria for major depression but last for years at a time.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a depressive disorder in which depressive episodes occur at specific times during the year, typically in the fall and winter seasons as the amount of daily sunlight decreases.

Postpartum Depression is a term used to describe depression that occurs in women who have a depressive episode that begins shortly after (usually within one month of) childbirth.

Want to learn more about depression?

Check out these resources:

†Are you concerned that you may have depression?

See our resource database for a list of books, websites, and local options for seeking professional evaluations and treatment.

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