A depressive disorder is an illness affecting the body, mood, and thoughts. It can deteriorate a person’s eating and sleeping patterns, self-image, and perception. A depressive disorder is different than a transient sad mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness nor is it a condition that can be overcome through will alone. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Without proper treatment, symptoms can endure for weeks, months, or years. However, help is available for all people who suffer from depression.