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Everyone has times when they’re feeling down. If you have depression, this sad mood along with other symptoms can last weeks, months, or even years if not treated. Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It’s a real medical condition, and there are ways to successfully treat depression.

More people suffer from depression than you might think. Depression strikes people of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnic groups. Depressive disorders affect about 34 million American adults. Nearly twice as many women as men are affected by a depressive illness each year.

Depression can affect women at any point in their lives. While we tend to know when someone else is depressed, it is sometimes easier to overlook in ourselves. In addition to a sad mood and loss of interest, people can experience several or all of these additional symptoms:

  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Restlessness or decreased activity that others notice
  • Loss of energy or feeling tired all the time
  • Hard time concentrating or making decisions
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Repeated thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Decreased sex drive

Being worried, anxious, or irritable all the time could also be hidden signs of depression.

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Causes of Depression:
The exact cause of depression isn’t clear. No one is sure why some people get depressed and others don’t. Sometimes depression seems to happen because of a stressful event. Sometimes it seems to happen for no reason at all.

Genes could play a role. People whose blood relatives have had depression are more likely to have it, too. However, not everyone who has a relative with depression is going to develop it.

Today, it’s widely understood that depression is a serious medical condition. Scientists believe that it could be linked with an imbalance of a chemical in the brain called serotonin. If this imbalance happens, it can affect the way people feel.