Many people suffer from a disease that affects them day in and day out.Sadly, many do not believe that this disease is even serious, but if it is left untreated or if it is improperly treated, it could be fatal.What is this disease?It is depression.Dr. Ainsworth states that "depression is not a sign of character weakness; it is a total body illness" (x).Everyone experiences sadness occasionally, but depression will persist for a period of two or more weeks.According to The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, depression is "a mental illness characterized by a profound and persistent feeling of sadness of despair and/or a loss of interest in things that were once pleasurable" (Olendorf 924).There are many symptoms that accompany depression, both mental and physical.Some of these symptoms include things such as:
• Insomnia( sleeplessness) or hypersomnia (constant sleeping)
• Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
• Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death
• Stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation
• Dizziness, numbness, or memory problems (Ainsworth 10; Olendorf 926).
Depression is a very complex disease.There tends to be a combination of factors
that lead up to depression, and they vary from person to person.In most cases, the cause seems to be an imbalance of certain body chemicals in the brain, but there are other aspects that can lead up to the onset of depression.Upbringing plays a big part in this.Children who experience abuse or neglect will be at a higher risk for developing depression.There are other factors that will also play a role in developing depression, such as a life-changing event.An event in this case maybe a death in the family or the loss of a job (Anders 487).Heredity also plays a large part in depression.

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