is a rare person who would say that he or she has never felt
"depressed." Simple fluctuations in mood are normal,
however, and differ from clinical depression, which varies from
mild to severe.
depression is not the same as grieving after the loss of a
loved one through death, separation, or divorce. Feelings
of sadness, emptiness, and low energy are normal during grief;
anxiety and anger can also be part of the grieving process.
In addition, depression may last longer than grief and includes
feelings of self-criticism, hopelessness, and despair.
has a variety of symptoms, such as fatigue, low motivation,
crying spells, increase or decrease in sleep and appetite,
weight loss or gain, withdrawal from others, irritability,
difficulty concentrating and making decisions, a sense of
hopelessness and worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts. Although
adults may present in therapy with many of these symptoms,
adolescents often present with flat or sad affect, irritability,
or an attitude of indifference. Depressed elderly people often
present primarily with psychomotor retardation, memory impairment
and mild disorientation (pseudodementia). Many people with
depression also have anxiety, and they may feel worried, tense,
light-headed, nauseous, frightened, have blurred vision, rapid
heartbeat, hot or cold flashes, and sweating.
is not something that happens to people because they are "weak,"
"stupid," or "crazy." Together with anxiety
(which occurs more frequently than depression), depression
is widespread. During any given year, it is estimated that
approximately 40% of the general population will suffer a
major depressive episode.
is no one cause for depression--a number of different factors
can cause it. These factors can be biological, interpersonal,
behavioral, and cognitive. Depression may be caused in some
people by factors in one of these areas, but it is most likely
to be caused by a combination of these factors. Biological
factors can include your family's predisposition, and your
current brain chemistry. Personal and/or interpersonal conflicts
and losses can be factors causing depression, as can cognitive
factors, such as increases in stress and decreases in positive,
enjoyable experiences. Cognitive factors include various distorted
and maladaptive ways of thinking.