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Depressive Disorder

People experiencing depression typically feel sad, empty, or irritable, and they are often dealing with body-based symptoms (such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, and loss of appetite), as well as cognitive and psychological symptoms (such as difficulties concentrating, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, and thoughts of suicide). Such challenges can undermine their ability to function at home, work, or school.

Major depressive disorder, one of the most common forms of depression, affects approximately 7% of the U.S. population every year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the causes of depression involve "genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors." Effective treatments include psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.

Find more information about depression, including tips on how to help individuals who are suffering with it.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental Disorders, fifth edition, DSM-5. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association.
  • National Institute of Mental Health. Depression. Retrieved from

This website was developed [in part] under a grant number SM-09-001 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.

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