Depression can take several other forms. In bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic-depressive illness, a person's mood swings back and forth between depression and mania. People with seasonal affective disorder typically suffer from depression only during autumn and winter, when there are fewer hours of daylight. In dysthymia (pronounced dis-THI-mee-uh), people feel depressed, have low self-esteem, and concentrate poorly most of the timeoften for a period of yearsbut their symptoms are milder than in major depression. Some people with dysthymia experience occasional episodes of major depression. Mental health professionals use the term clinical depression to refer to any of the above forms of depression.
Surveys indicate that people commonly view depression as a sign of personal weakness, but psychiatrists and psychologists view it as a real illness. In the United States, the National Institute of Mental Health has estimated that depression costs society many billions of dollars each year, mostly in lost work time.
Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses. At least 8 percent of adults in the United States experience serious depression at some point during their lives, and estimates range as high as 17 percent. The illness affects all people, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic standing. However, women are two to three times more... [continues]
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