Depression is a common medical disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in daily activities that can negatively affect how the person feels, the way he thinks and how he act. It is different from the mood fluctuations that people regularly experience as a part of their lives.
Symptoms must be persist and last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of a major depressive disorder also known as clinical depression.
Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function properly.
It can strike at any time, even in people who appear to live in relatively ideal circumstances and it could last for several weeks, months or even years. Women are more likely to experience depression.
Causes and Risk factors
There are many possible causes for Depression and risk factors including:
- Changes in certain chemicals in the brain – neurotransmitter levels.
- Genetics as depression can run in families.
- Personality: Some people are more likely to have depression such as those with low self-esteem, or who easily get overwhelmed by stress, or who are pessimistic.
- Environmental factors such as continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty.
- Traumatic events such as physical or sexual abuse as well as the death or loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or financial problems can cause depression.
- Psychological and social disorders such as anxiety, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Changes in balance of hormones such as during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum).
- Chronic illnesses including cancer, stroke, or cardio diseases.
- Certain medications, such as some hypotensive medications or sleeping pills may cause depression.
- Feeling of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness. One may also feel worthless or guilty.
- Avoiding social situations and Losing interest or pleasure in the activities they used to enjoy.
- Changes in appetite and in weight where one might loss or gain weight unintentionally.
- Sleeping disturbances such as insomnia or sleeping too much.
- Increased fatigue and loss of energy in a common symptom for depression.
- Slowed movements and speech.
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions.
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or even an attempt to suicide.
- Inhibited sexual desire – ISD.
- Anxiety, agitation and restlessness.
- Mood swings.
- Withdrawing from friends and family.
- Angry outbursts even over small matters.