At some point, everyone experiences a dampening of their mood, such as sadness, grief or disappointment. However, when these feelings of depression persist, it can interfere with one’s ability to function. Depression may become so severe that keeping up with normal activities becomes unmanageable. Individuals may isolate from loved ones, feel sadness for most of the day, lose interest in once pleasurable activities, experience significant grief, feel guilty, and may even feel suicidal.
Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness. There are different types of depression, including major depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia. Each of these varies in severity and symptoms. Depression develops from a complex interaction between an individual’s mind, body and life situation. Genetic makeup and health can precipitate the development of depressive symptoms, and in some families, depression can occur from generation to generation. One’s childhood experiences and social environment may influence the development of depression. For instance, loss of loved ones and conflict with others can be especially difficult. Lastly, neurological physiology, such as neurotransmitter balance, plays a major role in brain function and depression. Understanding and identifying the actual causes of depression are important aspects of therapy.