Depression is a state of low mood and aversion toactivity. Some consider it a dysfunction, while others see it as an adaptive defensemechanism. A depressed person experiences feelings of sadness, helplessnessand hopelessness. In traditional colloquy, feeling "depressed" is often synonymouswith feeling "sad", but both clinical depression and non-clinical depressioncan also refer to a conglomeration of more than one feeling.
Slight depression is of minor consequence. One may become slightlydepressed over a loss of a job; break up of a romantic relationship or divorce. Othercauses of slight depressions include loss of a parent, sibling, marital stress,job anxiety,moving or not having a great job. Slight depression may present with feelingsof sadness,sleeping problems, irritability, being easily annoyed and feeling tired.Slight depression is reversible and short term. Most people get over slightdepression with time and supportive therapy.
There are some individuals whom may develop mild depression which may startgradually for no reason. The individual may start to feel tired, restlessness, lonelinessand have difficulty sleeping. In many cases, the individual loses interest insex and wants to be left alone. One may be able to go to work but not have anyenjoyment. Mild depression may last a lot longer than slight depression but canbe overcome with changes in lifestyle, psychotherapyand socialsupport.
However, some individuals develop severe depression which may inducefeelings of suicidal ideation as it is common in severedepression. In severe depression one may feel sad constantly, cry for noapparent reason, have trouble sleeping and focusing, become fatigued,feel worthless, and have headaches or even backache .While slight depression has a cause, both mild and severe depression generallyare complex disorders which are not well understood. Mild depression may berelated to the environment, such as being unable to cope with a certain job,unemployment, financial problems or loss of a loved one. No one understands whysevere depression occurs.
There are many symptoms that signify depression. The frequency, duration,and severity of these symptoms will vary depending on the individual. Somesigns and symptoms that can occur include:
- Anger and/or irritability.
- Persistent sadness, the feeling of being "empty", and anxious.
- Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia, in particular during the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping which is also known as hypersomnia)
- Loss of interest in everyday activities.
- Appetite or weight changes (a significant weight gain or loss, by more than 5% of body weight)
- Irritability or restlessness.
- Loss of energy.
- Concentration problems.
- Unexplained aches and pains.
- Frequent thoughts of suicide or death.
- Feeling worthless or ignored.
It is estimated that about 1 out of 6 adults suffer from depression.Although depression does not have a single cause, many things contribute to thefeeling of depression, such as family history, pessimistic personality, traumaand stress, physical conditions, and other psychological disorders. Gender mayadditionally be a contributing factor. Women and men may experience depressionin different ways.
Slight and mild depression may not cause any complications. But severedepression can have an agonizing toll on the individual and the family. Whensevere depression is untreated it can quickly lead to disabilityand suicidal thinking. Severe depression can also cause deep emotional turmoil,changes in behavior, and legal and monetary problems.
Biological influences of depression are varied, but may relate to malnutrition,heredity, hormones, seasons, stress,illness, drugor alcohol use, neurotransmitter malfunction, long-term exposure todampness and mold, back injury, and to aerosol exposure. There are alsocorrelations between long term sleep difficulties and depression. Up to 90% ofpatients with depression are found to have sleep difficulties.
When depression is neglected or severe it can lead to:
- Substance abuse.
- Heart problems.
- Work-related problems.
- Family conflicts.
- Interpersonal difficulties.
- Social isolation and loneliness.