Depression is an emotional disorder characterized by perpetual feelings of sadness. People suffering from depression often feel like life is not worth living. Contrary to popular belief, depression cannot be ignored or left out to wear out on its own. Depression actually requires long-term treatment.
Everyone experiences depression at least once in their lives. The symptoms are identical in all individuals. They include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness or tearfulness
- Irritability, frustrations, angry outbursts over small issues
- Lack of sleep/too much sleeping
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Weight loss due to reduced appetite or weight gain due to increased craving for food
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as hobbies and sex
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Suicidal thoughts and frequent thoughts of death
Depression has no known cause. However, a variety of factors may help trigger this mental disorder. They include:
- Changes in the brain. Studies show that individuals with depression experience physical changes in their brain structure. Reasons and causes for these changes are still unclear. Changes in chemical components in the brain also play key role in depression. Neurotransmitters have been connected to mood stability in the brain.
- Depression can be triggered by hormonal imbalance in the body. For instance, women develop depression due to hormonal imbalance during pregnancy, post-delivery and during menopause.
Although depression is openly among teens and older people, it also affects young children. Children suffering from depression show signs such as weight loss and fear of going to school. Therefore, depression can occur at any age. Risk factors associated with depression are:
- Personality traits like being pessimistic, self-critical and having low self-esteem.
- Experiencing traumatic events, such as death of loved ones, sexual or physical abuse, financial problems or being in a painful relationship.
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart diseases and stroke.
- Being different from what is considered the social norm. For instance, being homosexual.