A normal consequence of any upsetting event in life can cause a person to have a depressed mood. It can vary in effect depending on the situation, for example, the loss chess game pales in comparison to the passing of a loved one. Such cases of depression heal in natural course, without treatment, in a few days to a few months. However, if the depression persists for six months or more, it is classified as clinic depression and requires professional treatment.
There are three main types of clinical depression: dysthymia, unipolar and bipolar depression. Dysthymia is a mild form of depression associated with extended periods of sorrow and pessimism. Unipolar depression can also be called major depression. Patients in such cases suffer a prolonged period of serious depression with no signs of improvement for several months. Bipolar depression, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is characterized by patients experiencing alternating episodes of severe depression and intense happy moods.
Regardless of type, different types of depression share some common symptoms which are shared by all patients. These symptoms include constant feelings of sorrow, unworthiness, feeling of hopelessness, overreaction to seemingly trivial occurrences, lack of drive toward daily activities, difficulty in focusing and poor memory, feelings of tiredness and restlessness, poor self-esteem, feelings of quilt, troubled sleep, antisocial behavior, suicidal thoughts or action, and complaints of physical aches and pain without any physical indicators.
An approximate 12 percent of the population suffers from clinical depression. Demographically, it is spread fairly evenly across all races, ages, and genders. Bipolar disorder, however, is more prevalent amongst women than men. Depression cannot be narrowed down to a single cause or combination of causes, as each case is a unique combination of different factors.
A widely known physiological determinant of depression is attributed to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Depression is caused when serotonin exists in insufficient quantity or is inactive. Norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter, is also instrumental in alleviating depression. Evidence suggests that depression can also be hereditary. Studies with Magnetic Resonance Imaging show the distinct differences in the brain function of depressed people compared to normal people.
Moreover, the subgenual prefrontal cortex of brain was discovered to be smaller in patients with a familial history of depression. Drug and alcohol addiction is another significant cause of depression. These are further compounded by social and environmental factors for example, painful childhood experiences, traumatic experiences, and personal belief systems. It is important to note that depression is sometimes an indicator of other health problems like cancer, heart disease or thyroid function disruption. Visit a physician for a proper diagnosis the condition.