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What is depression? Who gets depressed and why? – Part 1

• Depression is one of the most common emotional disorders.
• It may be manifested in feelings of slight sadness to utter misery and dejection.
• Depression is a very unpleasant malady.
• The mental stress and strain of day-to-day life, usually leads to this disorder.
• Depression can be found in children, in elderly people, and in people of all ages in between.
• It affects people of all races, cultures, professions, and income levels.
• Women, however, experience depression about twice as often as men.

Depression Symptoms

• Acute sense of loss
• Inexplicable sadness
• Loss of energy
• Lack of interest
• Loss of appetite
• Giddiness
• Itching
• Nausea
• Agitation
• Irritability
• Impotence or frigidity
• Constipation
• Aches and pains all over the body
• Lack of concentration
• Indecisiveness
• Low body temperature
• Low blood pressure
• Hot flushes
• Shivering

Causes of Depression

• Prolonged periods of anxiety and tension
• Excessive and indiscriminate use of drugs

Mental components
• Depression affects a person’s thoughts.
• It also seems that a person’s thoughts can affect depression.
• Some experts believe that depression comes from anger that is not expressed.
• It is directed inward at oneself instead.
• Others believe that negative thoughts feed depression.
• People who think negative things about themselves, the world around them, and the future encourage and deepen the depression.
• Feelings of being helpless and of having no choices also can be mental components of depression.
• People who have low self-esteem and perfectionists who set unrealistic goals for they also are prone to depression.

Physical components
• Researchers have found a link between depression and an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, called neurotransmitters.
• Brain imaging techniques show that areas of the brain responsible for moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior function differently in some people with depression.
• Differences in brain chemistry, some medical illnesses, such as stroke * , heart attack, cancer, or diseases that cause long-lasting pain, can sometimes trigger depression.
• In women, hormonal changes that occur just after the birth of a child cause some new mothers to experience postpartum (post-PAHR-tum) depression.

Genetic components
• It appears that genetic (inherited) factors also cause vulnerability to some kinds of depression.
• This is demonstrated by the way that depression tends to run in families.
• Studies of twins have found that identical twins (twins who have the same genes * ) are twice as likely to both experience major depression as are fraternal twins (twins who do not share all the same genes).
• Although a person with a parent, brother, or sister who has a depressive illness is more likely to become depressed than someone with no such family history.

Environmental components
• The death of a loved one, a failure at school or on the job, the end of a romantic relationship, or many other kinds of losses can trigger an episode of depression.
• Depression is different from the normal mourning process that follows a loss.
• A person in mourning goes through distinct stages of psychological reaction to the loss, ending with the ability to accept the loss and resume normal functioning.
• With depression, the sadness continues over a long time with no progress being made toward acceptance of the change.
• There is no way to predict which environmental stresses will trigger depression in specific individuals.

Seasons and Daylight
• Daylight can affect how the brain produces some neurotransmitters, like melatonin and serotonin.
• When there is less daylight, the brain produces more melatonin.
• When there is more daylight, the brain produces more serotonin.
• Melatonin and serotonin help regulate a person’s sleep-wake cycles, energy, and mood.
• Shorter days and longer hours of darkness in fall and winter may cause increased levels of melatonin and decreased levels of serotonin.
• The change in balance can create the biological conditions for depression in some people who are sensitive to seasonal changes in daylight.

The Depression Cure The Mindful Way through Depression Undoing Depression

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