Major Depression

Depression is feeling sad, blue, unhappy, or down in the dumps. Most people feel this way once in a while.

Major depression is a mood disorder. It occurs when feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration get in the way of your life over a long period of time. It also changes how your body works.

Causes

Health care providers do not know the exact causes of depression. It is believed that chemical changes in the brain are responsible. This may be due to a problem with your genes. Or it may be triggered by certain stressful events. More likely, it is a combination of both.

Some types of depression run in families. Other types occur even if you have no family history of the illness. Anyone can develop depression, including children and teens.

Depression may be brought on by:

  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Certain medical problems, such as underactive thyroid, cancer, or long-term pain
  • Some kinds of medicines, such as steroids
  • Sleeping problems
  • Stressful life events, such as death or illness of someone close to you, divorce, childhood abuse or neglect, loneliness (common in older people), relationship breakup

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