While everybody feels sad or blue every once in a while, many people suffer from an actual medical condition, known as depression, that affects their lives on a daily basis. Depression is characterized by constant feelings of sadness or emptiness, and may be triggered by certain events or co-exist with other illnesses.
There are several different depressive disorders, but major depressive disorder is the most common. Symptoms of major depression include:
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Crying spells
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Aches and pains
- Suicidal thoughts
Like other psychological disorders, the cause of depression is not specifically known, but is believed to be a combination of genetic, biological and environmental factors. Depression often occurs with other illnesses including anxiety disorders, substance abuse, heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Although depression can be a serious condition, it is highly treatable. It is important to talk to a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms to help prevent the condition from worsening. Treatment of depression typically includes medication and psychotherapy. Following effective treatment methods can help make depression a manageable and much less dangerous condition.