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Mental Health Conditions: Depression and Anxiety
What Is Depression?
Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed. Symptoms of depression include:1
Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
Feeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restless
Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
Waking up too early or sleeping too much
Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
Feeling tired‚ even after sleeping well
Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself
The following information is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis of major depression and cannot take the place of seeing a mental health professional. If you think you are depressed‚ talk with your doctor or a mental health professional immediately. This is especially important if your symptoms are getting worse or affecting your daily activities.
What Causes Depression?
The exact cause of depression is unknown. It may be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.2 Everyone is different‚ but the following factors may increase a person’s chances of becoming depressed:1
Having blood relatives who have had depression
Experiencing traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death of a loved one, or financial problems
Going through a major life change‚ even if it was planned
Having a medical problem, such as cancer, stroke, or chronic pain
Taking certain medications. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether your medications might be making you feel depressed.
Using alcohol or drugs