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Depression is a mental state characterized by profound feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, and lack of interest or pleasure in activities, often accompanied by suicidal tendencies. Depression frequently coexists with other physical or emotional conditions.

Dysthymia is a mild form of depression that is triggered by a serious event and lasts for several months to years. Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depressive illness) is characterized by depression with episodes of mania, a state of elation, which may include agitation, hyperexcitability, or hyperactivity.

Most of the drugs used to treat depression affect the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. The newest of these are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which prolong the action of serotonin in the brain.

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