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Major depression is manifested by a combination of symptoms (see symptom list)
that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once
pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only
once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime.
A less severe type of depression, dysthymia, involves long-term, chronic
symptoms that do not disable, but keep one from functioning well or from feeling
good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes at
some time in their lives.
Another type of depression is bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive
illness. Not nearly as prevalent as other forms of depressive disorders, bipolar
disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes: severe highs (mania) and lows