What is depression?

Depression is a mood state that goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medical illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. Depression is a life-long condition in which periods of wellness alternate with recurrences of illness.
According to MediLexicon's Medical Dictionary, depression is:
“A mental state or chronic mental disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, low self-esteem, and self-reproach; accompanying signs include psychomotor retardation (or less frequently agitation), withdrawal from social contact, and vegetative states such as loss of appetite and insomnia.”
Depression is the most common mental health problem for young people. Around one in five young people will have experienced depression by the time they reach adulthood.
Depression is an illness which can lead to problems with alcohol (including binge drinking), cigarettes and other drugs, low self-esteem and taking risks with your health and that of others.
Depression can also have long-term effects.  Depression may lead to young people dropping out of school or quitting their jobs, which could further affect their social lives and career options.  People who are depressed are often at risk of depression in adulthood as well as young people.  And untreated depression is a risk factor for suicidal behaviour.
However, the good news is that depression can be treated.  There are a lot of different options available to help manage the illness.

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