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Depression is a serious condition that more than 20% of individuals in the United States are likely to experience at some point during their lifetime. It can affect your relationships, your functioning at work or school, and basic activities of daily life such as eating and sleeping. A down mood or feeling very sad is not the same as depression, the disorder. If you have had the majority of the following symptoms almost daily, over a two-week period or longer, then you may be suffering from depression. These symptoms include:

• Depressed mood
• Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
• Trouble sleeping, staying asleep or sleeping too much
• Fatigue or loss of energy
• Decrease or increase in appetite or significant weight gain or loss
• Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
• Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
• Trouble concentrating or indecisiveness
• Repeated thoughts about death including, suicidal thoughts
• Feeling irritable, agitated, or restless
• Low self-esteem

Depression affects people differently but the commonality is a debilitating condition that zaps motivation and energy and creates a dark cloud over the person. If you think you may be suffering from depression then contacting a mental health professional or your primary care physician to get further assessment and treatment if necessary is recommended. Fortunately, there are a number of interventions and activities that can reduce depression symptoms and help individuals to achieve healthier lives and better functioning.

Treatments and interventions for depression that scientific research has shown to be highly effective include the following:

• Cognitive Behavioral and other types of psychotherapy
• Aerobic exercise
• Mindfulness
• Anti-depressant medication
• Scheduling pleasant enjoyable activities

The resources listed below can provide you more information about these treatments and the nature of depression: