What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you think and feel. The most common symptom is a feeling of deep sadness. You may also feel as if you just can't cope with life.

Other symptoms include:

  • Gaining or losing a lot of weight
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling restless
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Having trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
  • Thinking about death or suicide

Depression Affects Your Mind & Body

Everyone feels sad or "blue" from time to time. But depression is much more serious than just feeling down. Depression is a real illness. It makes you feel sad and helpless. It gets in the way of your life and relationships. It inhibits your ability to think and act. Fortunately, with help, you can feel better again.

Depression affects your whole body

Brain chemicals affect your body as well as your mood. So depression may do more than just make you feel low. You may also feel bad physically. Depression can:

  • Cause trouble with mental tasks such as remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Make you feel nervous and jumpy
  • Cause sleep issues
  • Change your appetite
  • Cause headaches, stomachaches, or other aches and pains
  • Drain your body of energy

Depression and other illnesses

It is common for people who have chronic health problems to also have depression. It can often be hard to tell which one caused the other. A person might become depressed after finding out they have a health problem. But some studies suggest being depressed may make certain health problems more likely. And some depressed people stop taking care of themselves. This may make them more likely to get sick.