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Depression is a “whole-body” illness, involving a person’s body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way one eats and sleeps, the way one feels about himself, and the way one thinks about things. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with a depressive illness cannot merely “pull themselves together” and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression. Depression can occur due to a multitude of causes. It may be the result of a physical illness, bereavement, alcoholism, childbirth, or severe life events. It may occur as a result of problems that occurred in early childhood or as a result of the present difficulties relating to home or work.