DEPRESSION

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Alternative names

blues; dejected; discouragement; gloom; mood changes; sadness 

Definition

An emotional state in which there are extreme feelings of sadness, dejection, lack of worth, and emptiness 

Considerations

Most depression is a reaction to an unhappy event. It is natural to have some depression after a loss such as the death of a relative, or after a major disappointment at home or at work. 

Depression is more prevalent in women than men and is especially common among adolescents. 

Mild depression comes and goes and is characterized by downheartedness, sadness, and dejection. Short-term episodes of depression or other mood changes can occur with hormone changes, including those that accompany pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or shortly after the birth of a baby (postpartum depression). 

Noticeably disturbed thought processes, poor communication and socialization, and sensory dysfunction indicate moderate depression. 

People with severe depression are withdrawn, without expression, indifferent toward their surroundings, and may show signs of delusional thinking and limited physical activity. 

Common causes

  •   loss of a friend or relative
  •   substantial disappointment at home or at work
  •   prolonged or chronic illness
  •  drugs such as tranquilizers,high blood pressure medicines, steroids (prednisone),codeine, and indomethacin
  •   alcohol intoxication
  •   alcohol withdrawal
  •   drug intoxication
  •   drug withdrawal

Note: There may be other causes of depression. This list is not all inclusive, and the causes are not presented in order of likelihood. The causes of this symptom can include unlikely diseases and medications. Furthermore, the causes may vary based on age and gender of the affected person, as well as on the specific characteristics of the symptom such as quality, time course, aggravating factors, relieving factors, and associated complaints. Use the Symptom Analysis option to explore the possible explanations for depression, occurring alone or in combination with other problems. 

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