What is Depression?

What is Depression?

Depression (Major Depressive Disorder, MDD, or Clinical Depression) is a medical illness characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. MDD can manifest itself as both mental and physical symptoms, negatively impacting the sufferer’s cognitive functioning and interfering with his or her ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy life.

People afflicted with MDD typically experience a depressed or irritable mood, decreased interest in activities, significant weight change, loss of energy, and feelings of worthlessness. These feelings occur frequently – almost every day with episodes that last at least for two weeks.

MDD is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting approximately 1 out of every 15 Americans age 18 or older. MDD is more prevalent in women than in men, experiencing depression at twice the rate of men. This 2:1 ratio exists regardless of racial or ethnic background or
economic status.

Depressive disorders frequently occur simultaneously with other disorders or illnesses, including but not limited to anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, and HIV. A sub-type of MDD that includes symptoms of psychosis is called psychotic depression.

Major Depression

Not functioning normally makes it difficult for a person to work, sleep, eat, or enjoy activities.


Chronic depression. Moods are regularly low, yet symptoms are less severe.

Biopolar Disorder

Moods alternate between depressive and manic episodes.

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talking about suicide, or a verbal statement of wanting to commit suicide
  • Visual exposure of self harm, or a history of self harm
  • Increase of wanting to complete certain actions or a “Bucket List”
  • Increase of alcohol or medication abuse
  • Statements such as, “I’m glad we were friends” or “I’m glad I had you in my life.” 
  • Prolonged absence or silence that were never administered before
  • Distribution of personal belongings of sentimental value to the individual
  • Signs of fatigue or insomnia that the individual never displayed

  • Loss of appetite, or an increase in overeating
  • Lack of drive or ambition
  • Sudden interest in death and suicide
  • Statement of being a “burden” to oneself or others
  • Statement of hopelessness 
  • Sudden interest in tools that can assist in suicide
  • Visitation or statements of saying goodbye
  • Sudden nervousness on the topic of suicide

Note: These are just warning signs for someone who can eventually die by suicide. One or all signs may lead to the outcome of suicide. Individuals may show these signs instantaneously or can be developed over time. If you see or know someone who is exhibiting these behaviors who normally don’t, please take some form of action. You never know when a form of action or your output of concern can save someone or be the start of their hope. These signs may include but are not limited to the following:

Common Symptoms

Fatigue/Energy Loss.

Loss of pleasure/interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Persistent sad, anxious, irritable or “empty” mood.

Disrupted Sleep.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering or deciding.

Sleeping too much or too little.

Chronic pains or digestive issues.

Sense of guilt, hopelessness, and worthlessness.

Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain.

How is Depression Treated?




Social Support

Stress Reduction

Note: It is important to stay connected to a community whether that’s supportive friends or family you can talk to. Talk to a doctor for proper diagnosis & medication.