Depression | Overview

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What is depression?

When doctors talk about depression, they mean the medical illness called major depression. Someone who has major depression has symptoms like those listed in the Symptoms section nearly every day, all day, for 2 weeks or longer. There is also a minor form of depression that causes less severe symptoms. Both kinds of depression have the same causes and treatment.

Depression can affect people of all ages and is different for every person. A person who has depression can’t control his or her feelings. If you or your child, teen, or older relative is depressed, it’s not his or her fault.

Is depression more common in women than in men?

Yes. Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression. The reason for this is unknown, but changes in a woman's hormone levels may be related to depression.

 

This content has been supported by Forest Laboratories Inc.

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See a list of resources used in the development of this information.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 08/12
Created: 06/96

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