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The common usage of the word "depression" isn't usually in reference to a clinical disease. People most often use it to mean that they have "the blues" or they're just feeling "down." Unfortunately, the disease depression isn't so simple. It's not something that one can just `get over'. It's usually something that must be treated with therapy, and in some cases medication must also be used. There are many different types of the mental illness; clinical depression, bipolar disorder (otherwise known as manic depressive) and dysthymia.

In the period of one year, about 9.5% of Americans, which is about 18.8 million adults will suffer from one of these types of a "depressive disorder." (source 2) Depression affects over 17 million Americans each year. It's most common in women, and is more likely to affect the elderly than the young. It is the most diagnosed mental illness, and at least 15% of Americans will be affected by it so badly that they'll need medical attention. (source 1)

Although it is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness, it's also commonly misdiagnosed. Symptoms include weight loss or gain, a change in sleeping habits, loss of

energy and increase in fatigue, lack of self confidence, loss of ability to think or concentrate and repeated thoughts of death and suicide. It is so commonly misdiagnosed because the majority of these symptoms have variations, for example an extreme loss OR gain of weight, excessive OR lack of sleep. It leaves a lot of room for misdiagnosis.

Another type of depression is called bipolar disorder, otherwise known as manic-

depression. While the previously listed symptoms apply, there are others that distinguish this type from the others. Mania involves severe changes in mood f...

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...ot to do with inheriting the disease, then it is quite possible that my kin could get it. This thought scares me because I have seen what the disease does to people, people that I love. I hope I never have to see a loved one go through that kind of pain again, and if I do I am not sure how I would be able to handle it, especially if it were one of my kin.

Work Cited

Source 1: Copyright 1999-2001 Personal Health Lifestyles Inc.

Source 2:

National Institute of Mental Illness posted: 4/9/2004

Source 3:

The Lancet 1/19/02

Bipolar Disorder- Mueller-Oerlinghausen, Bruno; Berghafer, Anne; Bauer, Michael
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