Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps.
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Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.

True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The exact cause of depression is not known. Many researchers believe it is caused by chemical changes in the brain. This may be due to a problem with your genes, or triggered by certain stressful events. More likely, it's a combination of both.

Some types of depression run in families. But depression can also occur if you have no family history of the illness. Anyone can develop depression, even kids.

The following may play a role in depression:

Alcohol or drug abuse

Certain medical conditions, including underactive thyroid, cancer, or long-term pain

Certain medications such as steroids

Sleeping problems

Stressful life events, such as:

Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend

Failing a class

Death or illness of someone close to you


Childhood abuse or neglect

Job loss

Social isolation (common in the elderly)

See also: Adolescent depression


Depression can change or distort the way you see yourself, your life, and those around you.

People who have depression usually see everything with a more negative attitude. They cannot imagine that any problem or situation can be solved in a positive way.

Symptoms of depression can include:

Agitation, restlessness, and irritability

Becoming withdrawn or isolated

Difficulty concentrating

Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss

Fatigue and lack of energy

Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt

Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed

Thoughts of death or suicide

Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping

Depression can appear as anger and discouragement, rather than feelings of sadness.

If depression is very severe, there may also be psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.



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