Glossary of Medical Terms

Depression

Depression is an illness that causes a person to feel sad and hopeless for much of the time. It is different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy.

People who are depressed may also:

  • Lose interest in things they have enjoyed in the past.

  • Think and speak more slowly than normal.

  • Have trouble concentrating, remembering, and making decisions.

  • Have changes in their eating and sleeping habits.

  • Be preoccupied with death and/or suicide.

  • Have feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness.

Depression affects men and women of all ages and has often been shown to run in families. A person can have one or many episodes of depression in a lifetime. Each episode of depression makes a person more likely to have another episode of depression.

Most people who are depressed get better with medicine, counseling, or a combination of the two. Some people with depression may need to be hospitalized.

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