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Depression - Definition, Symptoms & Causes

Depression is characterised by a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure. Depression may be mild, moderate, or severe. It may be temporary, episodic or ongoing. A depression may be triggered by a stressful life event such as bereavement or divorce, or be about how a person evaluates themself and their life, or be related to another mental health problem. Depression may involve profound emotional pain, disrupt day to day life, impact on personal relationships or work relationships, and lead to isolation.

Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of depression may include agitation, anger, appetite increase or decrease, brooding, concentration problems, depressed mood, fatigue, frustration, guilt, hopelessness, indecisiveness, or irritability. The symptoms of depression may also include loss of interest or pleasure, loss of sexual desire, physical aches and pains, sadness, sleep problems such as insomnia or hypersomnia, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, tearfulness, tiredness, weight gain or weight loss, or worthlessness.

Causes of Depression

Depression may follow a stressful life event such as bereavement or divorce. Depression may be related to negative thoughts and beliefs, self blame, or self hate. A depression may also be related to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), chronic physical illnesses, Dysthymic Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post Natal Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or having first degree relatives with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

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Updated 12 June 2014