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What is depression?

Updated: Oct 13, 2018

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 million people are affected by depression, globally.

Fast facts on depression:

  • Depression seems to be more common among women than men.

  • Symptoms include lack of joy and reduced interest in things that used to bring a person happiness.

  • Life events, such as bereavement, produce mood changes that can usually be distinguished from the features of depression.

  • The causes of depression are not fully understood but are likely to be a complex combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychosocial factors.

Those with less successful coping strategies, or previous life trauma are more susceptible.

Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistently low mood and a feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is a persistent problem, not a passing one, lasting on average 6 to 8 months.

The causes of depression are not fully understood and may not be down to a single source. Depression is likely to be due to a complex combination of factors that include:

  • genetics

  • biological - changes in neurotransmitter levels

  • environmental

  • psychological and social (psychosocial)

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