Sadness, feeling down, having a loss
of interest or pleasure in daily activities - these are symptoms familiar to
all of us. But, if they persist and affect our life substantially, it may be
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression
is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They
estimate that 350
million people are affected by
Fast facts on depression:
Depression seems to be more common among women than men.
Symptoms include lack of joy and reduced interest in things
that used to bring a person happiness.
Life events, such as bereavement, produce mood changes that
can usually be distinguished from the features of depression.
The causes of depression are not fully understood but are
likely to be a complex combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and
psycho social factors.
There are a number
of factors that may increase the chance of depression, including the following:
- Abuse. Past physical,
sexual, or emotional abuse can increase the vulnerability to clinical
depression later in life.
- Certain medications. Some drugs, such as isotretinoin (used to
treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase your risk
- Conflict. Depression in someone
who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from
personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.
- Death or a
or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may
increase the risk of depression.
- Genetics. A family history of
depression may increase the risk. It's thought that depression is a
complex trait, meaning that there are probably many different genes that
each exert small effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to
disease risk. The genetics of depression, like most psychiatric disorders,
are not as simple or straightforward as in purely genetic diseases
such as Huntington's chorea or cystic fibrosis.
- Major events. Even good events such
as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to
depression. So, can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or
retiring. However, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a
"normal" response to stressful life events.
- Other personal
such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out
of a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing
depression co-exists with a major illness or may be triggered by another
- Substance abuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse
problems also have major or clinical depression. Even if drugs or alcohol
temporarily make you feel better, they ultimately will aggravate
depressive disorder changes how a person feels and acts during a period of time
called a depressive episode.
this time, the person feels extremely sad every day and the feeling lasts for a
minimum of two weeks. Sadness is subjective and different for everyone, so
before you label or diagnose someone who is sad with depression, it’s important
to think about whether or not their behavior is noticeably different from how
they usually act in similar circumstances.
blue or sad more often than not
like life isn’t fun or pleasurable anymore
interest in things that used to be a huge part of their life
in appetite and weight, like eating significantly more and gaining weight, or
not eating at all
in sleep quality or amount of sleep, like sleeping less, or sleeping more but
still feeling tired
in speech, like becoming less talkative
· psycho motor agitation, like hand wringing, pacing, or tapping the foot
of worthlessness or guilt
about death or wishing for death
suicide are the most serious symptom of depression. When people consistently experience
extreme symptoms like the ones listed above, they may sometimes begin to think
that death is the only way for them to escape their pain. Because they may also
feel that their future is hopeless and nothing will get better, they are much
more likely to act on the thoughts that they have about death. As their
depression becomes more severe, their risk of suicide also increases.
warning signs for suicide include:
intense, or long-lasting suicidal ideation, or thoughts about killing oneself
that there is no reason to live
trapped or like they are a burden to others
alcohol or drug use
away possessions or saying goodbye in a way that seems final