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B. Depression or Fatigue?

Narrator: This is Science Today. Only about a third of people with depression actually receive medical help. There are several reasons why, but Ellen Haller, a psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Francisco says often times the symptoms are not recognized by patients or their doctors.

Haller: And that's just a tragedy seeing that this is a very treatable problem. And so the more education we can do of primary care doctors to pick this up and treat it appropriately, the better. So that's really been the main focus of my work lately.

Narrator: Another reason depression may go untreated is patients may mistake symptoms for fatigue.

Haller: People with depression have fatigue as one's symptom. But they also have sometimes trouble sleeping or sleeping too much. They have trouble with their appetite, their overall energy level and then as part of the depression, have an overwhelming feeling of sadness and often suicidal thoughts. And if all that's going on with the fatigue, that's not just fatigue - that's depression.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.