Depression

(Major Depressive Affective Disorder; Unipolar Disorder; Unipolar Mood Disorder)

Definition

Depression is a mental illness marked by feelings of profound sadness and lack of interest in activities. It is a persistent low mood that interferes with the ability to function and appreciate things in life. It may cause a wide range of symptoms, both physical and emotional. It can last for weeks, months, or years. People with depression rarely recover without treatment.

Causes

The exact cause of depression is not known. It may be due to a certain type of brain chemistry. While the exact cause is not clearly established, factors that may play a role in depression include:
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Risk Factors

Depression is more common in females. There are a range of factors that may increase your risk of depression. Examples include:
  • Having a family history of depression
  • Spouse with depression
  • Previous episode of depression
  • Hormonal changes
  • Chronic illness
  • Other conditions related to mental health such as anxiety , drug abuse , insomnia , and personality disorder
  • History of traumatic brain injury
  • History of concussion in teenagers
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • History of child abuse and neglect or sexual abuse
  • Obesity
  • History of bullying
  • History of self-harm as a teenager, with or without suicidal intent
  • Emotional or social factors, such as:
    • Little or no social support
    • Negative thought patterns and beliefs
    • Low self-esteem
    • Lack of personal control over circumstances
    • Feelings of helplessness

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