Depression (major depressive disorder)


Depression is an emotional disorder that causes a constant feeling of sadness and a loss of interest in doing different activities. Also called “major depressive disorder” or “clinical depression,” it affects a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behavior and can cause a variety of physical and emotional problems. You may find it difficult to carry out everyday activities and sometimes feel that life is not worth living.

More than just a fleeting sadness, depression is not a weakness and one cannot easily recover overnight. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t be discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medicine, psychotherapy, or both.


Although depression can occur only once in a lifetime; generally, people have several episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur for much of the day, almost every day, and may include:

Feelings of sadness, crying, emptiness, or hopelessness
Outbursts of anger, irritability, or frustration, even over minor matters
Loss of interest or pleasure from most or all usual activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports
Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks require more effort

Symptoms of depression in children and adolescents

Los signos y síntomas frecuentes de depresión en los niños y adolescentes son similares a aquellos en los adultos, pero puede haber algunas diferencias.

En los niños más pequeños, los síntomas de depresión pueden consistir en tristeza, irritabilidad, apego, preocupación, dolores, negarse a ir a la escuela o bajo peso.
En los adolescentes, los síntomas pueden comprender tristeza, irritabilidad, sentirse negativo e inútil, ira, bajo rendimiento o poca asistencia a la escuela, sentirse incomprendido y extremadamente sensible, consumir drogas de uso recreativo o alcohol, comer o dormir demasiado, autolesionarse, perder el interés por las actividades habituales y evitar la interacción social.

Symptoms of depression in older adults

Depression is not a normal part of aging, and should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression is often not diagnosed or treated in older adults, who may be reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, including:

Memory problems or personality changes
Physical pain
Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems, or loss of interest in sex that are not the result of illness or medication
Wanting to stay home often, instead of going out to socialize or do new things
Suicidal thoughts or feelings, especially in older men

When to see the doctor

If you feel depressed, make an appointment with a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible. If you don’t want to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any healthcare provider, a religious leader, or someone else you trust.


If you think you are capable of hurting yourself or attempting suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

If you have a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has tried to do so, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Or, if you think you can do it safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.


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