Depression, in psychology, a mood or emotional state that is marked by feelings of low self-worth or guilt and a reduced ability to enjoy life. A person who is depressed usually experiences several of the following symptoms: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or pessimism; lowered self-esteem and heightened self-depreciation; a decrease or loss of ability to take pleasure in ordinary activities; reduced energy and vitality; slowness of thought or action; loss of appetite; and disturbed sleep or insomnia.
Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is different from the mood fluctuations that people regularly experience as a part of life.
Major life events, such as bereavement or the loss of a job, can lead to depression. However, doctors only consider feelings of grief to be part of depression if they persist. Depression is an ongoing problem, not a passing one. It consists of episodes during which the symptoms last for at least 2 weeks. Depression can last for several weeks, months, or years.
Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
Depression can have many causes. Unfavourable life events can increase a person’s vulnerability to depression or trigger a depressive episode. Negative thoughts about oneself and the world are also important in producing and maintaining depressive symptoms.
However, both psychosocial and biochemical mechanisms seem to be important causes; the chief biochemical cause appears to be the defective regulation of the release of one or more naturally occurring neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly norepinephrine and serotonin.
Reduced quantities or reduced activity of these chemicals in the brain is thought to cause the depressed mood in some sufferers.Research suggests that depression is also linked to physical activity, whereby physical activity may lower a person’s risk of developing depression. Individuals who exercise typically report better mental health and are less likely to be depressed, compared with individuals who do not exercise.
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