What is Depression?

Depression is an emotional disorder, with certain characteristics, and can be diagnosed in a variety of forms, including bipolar depression (manic-depression), major depression (what we usually think of as depression) and dysthymia (a low-grade, long-lasting form of depression). According to the World Health Organization (2002), depression is the second most common and disabling condition (including all medical illnesses) suffered by people worldwide today. By 2020, WHO estimates it will be #1. Fewer than 25% of people with depression ever seek help for this, among the most treatable of all emotional disorders.

What all forms of depression have in common are:

If depression persists, it is likely you will also have the physiological symptoms of depression:

You may also have:

Depression and Grief

Depression is not grief. In contrast to depression, when you experience a loss, you may feel numb or terribly sad, but your self-esteem is okay, you don't have physiological symptoms of depression, and you have no suicidal thoughts. (Bereavement does lead to depression in about a third of cases of serious loss.)

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