is unfortunately a very common and very serious disease that causes significant morbidity and mortality in the United States and worldwide every year. It can have a major impact on an individual's daily functioning, causing changes in diet and weight gain/loss, alteration of sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, and alienation from friends and family. Feelings of guilt and worthlessness can develop, making it hard to escape a downward spiral of depression.
Fortunately, there are treatments for depression that have been shown to be very effective. A combination of psychiatric therapy and medications have been shown to be particularly successful in combating this illness. The medications commonly used for depression are thought to work by altering the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain; neurotransmitters are the chemicals that are passed between nerve cells as part of signal transduction. In particular, serotonin (eg Prozac) and serotonin / norepinephrine (eg Effexor) reuptake inhibitors are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the treatment of depression.
If you are feeling depressed or have other symptoms of depression, then you should seek out the care of your primary care physician
and/or a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist
to start the process of making an accurate diagnosis and treating this serious condition.