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What is Depression?

Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a common, and sometimes serious, mental illness that can affect how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that one in every six individuals will experience depression in their lifetimes. Furthermore, about one in 15 people have depression during any given year. If you experience depression, you may have the following symptoms:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
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