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 obnoxious.

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