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Unlike other illnesses or disorders, there is no simple explanation as to what causes depression. In general, depression can be due to a number of factors including stresses which can range from mild to severe, combined with vulnerability or predisposition to depression that can result from biological, genetic or psychological factors. Each type of depression is associated with different mixtures of causes.

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. The severity of its symptoms affect how you feel, think and manage daily activities, such as work, school, sleeping, hygiene. The symptoms of depression must be present for at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression. Depression affects people of all ages and all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. But different groups of people do experience depression in different ways.

SYMPTOMS If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities;
Decreased energy or fatigue
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Feeling restless
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping


Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, talk therapy (psychotherapy), or a combination of both. If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider. This could be your primary doctor or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions (psychologist or psychiatrist). Certain medications, and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the depression, the next step is a mental health evaluation

Things You Can Do If you have depression, you may feel exhausted, helpless, and hopeless. It may be extremely difficult to take any action to help yourself. But as you begin to recognize your depression and begin treatment, you will start to feel better. Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment: • Try to be active and exercise – go to an event/activity that you once enjoyed. • Set realistic goals for yourself. • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.