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JAMA Patient Page
November 12, 2008

Depression

JAMA. 2008;300(18):2202. doi:10.1001/jama.300.18.2202

A person who feels sad all the time, has unexplained crying spells, or loses interest in usual activities may have major depression, a serious medical illness that should be distinguished from normal temporary feelings of sadness after a loss, such as the death of a relative or friend. The November 12, 2008, issue of JAMA includes an article about depression in heart patients. This Patient Page is based on one previously published in the May 28, 2008, issue of JAMA.

Having at least 5 of these symptoms occurring nearly every day for at least 2 weeks:

Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of depression should be evaluated by a doctor. Although individuals with depression often feel that nothing can help them, effective treatments are available. Evaluation and treatment are particularly important to prevent suicide. Depression is the most common cause of suicide.

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