Depression is a clinical illness characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness that do not lessen over time and eventually interfere with normal functioning. It is a common and treatable disorder; yet most people with depression do not seek treatment. Variations of depression have been identified in DSM-5, including:
- Major depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is the most common form of depression, affecting approximately 15 million American adults, 7 million adolescents, and 6 million older adults. It is characterized by a protracted depressed mood that lasts most of each day, and the inability to perform normal daily routines and engage in once-pleasurable activities. The disorder affects relationships, activities like eating and sleeping, as well as physical and sexual health.
- Dysthymic disorder (chronic depression or dysthymia) is a less severe form of depression but a longer-lasting mood disorder characterized by chronic mild depression, irritability, disruptions in normal habits, fatigue, and low self-esteem, although regular functionality is not disabled.
Other types of depression are psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, atypical depression and bipolar depression (manic depression). Signs of depression include: losing interest in activities; agitation, restlessness; isolation; fatigue/loss of energy; headache, backache, digestion complications, chronic pain; sleep problems; significant weight loss/gain; inability to concentrate or make decisions; forgetfulness; avoidance of responsibility or social interaction; feelings of self-loss, guilt, worthlessness, or hopelessness and thoughts of suicide.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men but more likely to admit to suicidal thoughts, guilt, and worthlessness and seek treatment. Men are less likely to admit to depression because of stigma, become angry and abusive and use alcohol/drugs to cope, as well engage in risky behavior and successfully complete suicide attempts. Depression is controlled with proper medication prescribed by a doctor in combination with psychotherapy.