A psychological state disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in lifestyle. Possible causes include a mixture of biological, psychological and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of certain neural circuits within the brain. The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can cause a variety of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy state, concentration, daily behavior or self-esteem. Depression also can be related to thoughts of suicide. The mainstay of treatment is typically medication, talk therapy or a mixture of the 2. Increasingly, research suggests that these treatments may normalize brain changes related to depression.

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