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Depression

Depression is a serious biologic disease that affects millions of people each year. The encouraging news is that it may be successfully treated. Learn how you can manage your depression by reaching out to others such as a health care professional or family and friends.

What causes depression?

Although no single cause of depression has been identified, it appears that interaction among genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychosocial factors may play a role. The fact is, depression is not a personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away, but it can be successfully treated.

Who gets depression?

An estimated 33 to 35 million U.S. adults are likely to experience depression at some point during their lifetime. The disease affects men and women of all ages, races, and economic levels. However, women are at a significantly greater risk than men to develop major depression. Studies show that episodes of depression occur twice as frequently in women as in men.

Although anyone can develop depression, some types of depression, including major depression, seem to run in families. Whether or not depression is genetic, the disorder is believed to be associated with changes to levels of chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and norepinephrine.

Call a health care professional right away if you or your family member has any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you: