DEAR DOCTOR K: I've been feeling down and moody lately, but nothing out of the ordinary has happened in my life. And I've always been a happy and positive person. Could something other than depression be affecting my mood?
DEAR READER: Depression is a common problem, and it often is not recognized by either the person suffering from it or that person's doctor. In fact, I think undiagnosed and untreated depression is one of the most important health problems in the developed nations. It generates enormous emotional suffering -- on the part of the depressed person, and that person's family, friends and co-workers. It also leads to lost productivity.