This term is used to describe a negative mood – such as feelings of sadness, despair, feeling discouraged, and/or helplessness and hopelessness.   This mood can paralyze people and keep them from moving on with their lives, or being actively engaged in managing their own lives.   Many people get depressed at one time or another, and therefore, a depressed mood can be characterized or thought of as a normal, chronic state of mind for some people and these kinds of personalities can be described as “depressive characters.”   Nonetheless, even though they are chronic states of mind, depression does not feel good to most people, and can be treated successfully most of the time.

The overt symptoms of depression can be seen in a variety of mental and physical disorders; a “syndrome” of associated symptoms can be:  slowed thinking, decreased pleasure, decreased physical activity, guilt, hopelessness, disorders of eating and sleeping, and bodily complaints.