an illness that causes you to feel sad, to lose interest in activities that
you've always enjoyed, to withdraw from others, and to have little energy. It's
different from normal feelings of sadness,
grief, or low energy. Depression can also cause people
to feel hopeless about the future and even to think about suicide.
Many people, and sometimes their families, feel embarrassed or ashamed
about having depression. Don't let these feelings stand in the way of getting
treatment. Remember that depression is a common illness. Depression affects the
young and old, men and women, all ethnic groups, and all professions.
If you think you may be depressed, tell your doctor. Treatment can help
you enjoy life again. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you will feel
What causes depression?
Depression is a disease.
It's not caused by personal weakness and is not a character flaw. When you have
depression, chemicals in your brain called
neurotransmitters are out of balance.
Most experts believe a combination of family history (your
genes) and stressful life events may cause depression.
Life events can include: