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From time to time, just about everyone feels sad or "blue." Usually, these feelings are temporary and go away after a short time.

If your feelings are more intense or last for a longer time, it could be depression. When a person has depression, it interferes with daily activities and can also affect your relationships with others.

Depression is a common, but serious, illness. It is likely caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Types of Depressive Disorders

Other Forms of Depression

Signs and Symptoms


If you experience signs and symptoms of depression, the best place to start is to visit with a healthcare provider or mental health specialist.

Certain medications, and some medical conditions can cause the same symptoms as depression. A healthcare provider can do a physical exam, interview with you or lab tests to see if you have a medical condition. If there is no medical cause to the symptoms, you may be referred to a mental health professional, who can talk to you about any family history of depression or other mental disorder, and get a complete history of your symptoms.

You may be asked questions such as:

The mental health professional may also ask about alcohol or drug use or if you have been treated for depression or other conditions in the past.

Sometimes, depression can happen at the same time as other conditions like anxiety disorders, panic disorder, social phobia or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD can/may occur after someone goes through a traumatic physical or emotional event like an accident, assault, natural disaster, terrorism or military combat. People experiencing PTSD are at higher risk of also having depression.

Because physical health and mental health are connected, depression can may occur with other serious medical illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease. People with a medical illness and with depression tend to have more severe symptoms and even higher medical costs than those who do not have both conditions. Treating the depression can also help improve treatment for the illness.

Taking Care of Yourself



Source: National Institute of Mental Health