Depression is characterized by persistent sadness and hopelessness that interferes with daily life. Depression goes beyond a normal reaction to a life situation. It persists for months or even years and can affect a person's work, relationships with family and friends, sleep and eating habits, ability to complete the regular tasks of everyday life, and general health. About 1 of every 5 persons has depression at some time in his or her life. Depression is common among patients who see primary care doctors. Common depression symptoms are lack of energy and loss of interest in things previously enjoyed. Sometimes depression goes away on its own, but many depressed persons need treatment with counseling or medication to speed recovery. Often, persons with depression do not realize that their feelings are due to a medical condition and do not seek medical care.