Essay by bmk802 October 2005

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Depression is a psychiatric disorder characterized by feelings of worthlessness, guilt, sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. It is different then normal sadness or grief from the loss of a loved one because it is persistent and severe. Clinical depression has many related symptoms trouble sleeping, eating disorders, withdrawal and inactivity, self-punishment, and loss of pleasure. People that are depressed do not like to do things they may usually like to.

Surveys that have been taken that show approximately 20 in 100 people suffer from depression at any one time. About one if four Americans will suffer from a depression over the course of their lifetime. Depression strikes men and women of all ages, in all races, but most studies indicate that women are more often afflicted.

There are two major forms of depression that people get. One form is called depressive disorder. It is diagnosed only by episodes of depression. Episodes can be short or long but are usually brought about by an incident in a persons life.

An example of this is if someone close to them dies. The other kind is called bipolar or manic depressive illness, it is recognized by alternating depressed and manic episodes. This is an actual brain dysfunction. In the major depression or the depressed phase of bipolar illness, a depressed mood predominates, even though the patient may not be aware of feeling sad. Typically, he or she loses all interest in activities. Symptoms include sleep disturbances, not able to concentrate or to make decisions, loss of appetite or greatly increased appetite, slowed thinking and decreased energy feelings of worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness, diminished sexual interest, and recurrent thoughts of suicide and death, sometimes leading a person to actually committing suicide. In the manic phase of bipolar disorder the patients behavior is bizarre and sometimes...