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Depression - overview


Definition:

Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.

Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or more.

Alternative Names:

Blues; Gloom; Sadness; Melancholy

When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Call 911, a suicide hotline, or go to a nearby emergency room if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others.

Call your health care provider if:

  • You hear voices that are not there.
  • You cry often without cause.
  • Your depression has affected your work, school, or family life for longer than 2 weeks.
  • You have 3 or more symptoms of depression.
  • You think one of your current medications may be making you feel depressed. DO NOT change or stop taking any medications without talking to your health care provider.
  • If you think your child or teen may be depressed.

You should also call your provider if:

  • You think you should cut back on drinking alcohol
  • A family member or friend has asked you to cut back on drinking alcohol
  • You feel guilty about the amount of alcohol you drink
  • You drink alcohol first thing in the morning
References:

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. 2013.

American Psychiatric Association. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder. 3rd ed. October 2010. Available at: http://psychiatryonline.org/pb/assets/raw/sitewide/practice_guidelines/guidelines/mdd.pdf. Accessed: March 10, 2014.


Review Date: 12/20/2014
Reviewed By: Paul Ballas, DO, Attending Psychiatrist, Friends Hospital, Philadelphia PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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