• Wed. Jun 29th, 2022

Depression (major depressive disorder) and its symptoms, causes, risk factors, and complications

Depression (major depressive disorder)

Depression (major depressive disorder)

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of unhappiness and loss of interest. Also called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to various emotional and physical issues. You may have trouble doing normal daily activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life is unworthy of living.

More than just about the blues, depression is not a weakness, and you can’t simply “get out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But do not get tired. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy, or both.

Symptoms

Although depression may occur only once during your life, people generally have multiple episodes. The symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day, and may include:

  • Anger, irritability, or frustration even in small things
  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all of the normal activities such as sex, entertainment, or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue and lack of energy, so even small jobs take extra effort
  • Anorexia and weight loss or increased appetite for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
  • Correction of futility or guilt, past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems such as back pain or headaches
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or suicide

For many people with depression, the symptoms are usually severe enough to cause significant problems in daily activities such as work, school, social activities, or relationships with others. Some people in general may feel miserable without knowing why.

Depression symptoms in children and teens

Common symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.

  • Symptoms of depression in young children include sadness, irritability, nausea, anxiety, aches, and pains, refusal to go to school, or being underweight.
  • Adolescents include sadness, irritability, negative and ineffective feeling, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, misunderstood and over-sensitivity, use of recreational drugs or alcohol, overeating or sleeping, self-harm, and apathy. In normal activities, and avoiding social interactions

Depression symptoms in older adults

Depression is not just a normal part of aging, it should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression in the elderly is often undiagnosed and untreated, and they may be reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less pronounced in the elderly, ie:

  • Physical aches or pain
  • Memory impairments or personality changes
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems, or loss of interest in sex – are not caused by a medical condition or medication.
  • They prefer to stay at home rather than go out often to socialize or do new things.
  • Suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in older men.

Causes

It is not known exactly, what causes depression. Like many mental disorders, various factors can be involved:

  • Biological differences. Physical changes appear in the brain of people with depression. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may help to point out the reasons in the end. 
  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are natural brain chemicals that play a role in depression. Recent research suggests that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.
  • Hormones. Changes in the body’s hormonal balance can be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormonal changes can occur in the weeks or months after pregnancy and childbirth (after childbirth) due to thyroid problems, menopause, or some other condition.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in blood relatives and people with this condition. Researchers are trying to find the genes that cause depression.

Risk factors

Depression most often begins in adolescence, 20 or 30, but it can occur at any age. Women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression, but this may be partly because women are more likely to receive treatment.

Factors that appear to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression include:

  • Abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs
  • History of other mental health disorders, such as eating disorders, anxiety disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Some personality traits such as low self-esteem and over-dependence, self-criticism or distrust
  • Traumatic or traumatic events such as physical or sexual abuse, death or loss of a loved one, difficult relationship, or financial problems
  • Variations in the development of the genitals that are not male or female (intersex) in lesbian, homosexual, bisexual or transgender situations
  • Serious or chronic illness, including cancer, chronic pain, stroke, or heart disease
  • Some medications, such as some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills (talk to your doctor before stopping any medication)
  • Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, or suicide

Complications

Depression is a serious disorder that can affect you and your family. When depression is not treated, it often worsens, resulting in emotional, behavioral, and health problems that affect every part of your life.

Examples of complications associated with depression include:

  • Excess weight or obesity can lead to heart disease and diabetes
  • Pain or physical illness
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Anxiety, panic disorder, or social phobia
  • Family conflicts, relationship difficulties, and work or school problems
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal feelings, suicide attempts, or suicide
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting
  • Premature death from medical conditions

When to see a doctor

If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or psychiatrist as soon as possible. If you are reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, health care professional, trust leader, or someone you trust.