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Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness

  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activites, such as sex, hobbies or sports

  • Sleep disturbances, inlcluding insomina or sleeping too much

  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small asks take extra effort

  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain

  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame

  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

The Four Major Causes of Depression

  • Family history.  Though there are no specific genes that we can look at and trace to depression, if your family members have had depression, you are more likely also to experience depression.

  • Illness and health issues.

  • Medication, drugs and alchohol.

  • Personality.

How Do You Release Depression?

They may seem simple, but they can help a lot.

  1. Exercise. Take a 15- to 30-minute brisk walk every day. …

  2. Eat healthy foods. …

  3. Don’t dwell on problems. …

  4. Express yourself. …

  5. Notice good things.

Most of all, if you’re going through depression, show yourself some compassion and kindness.

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