Depression is a mental disorder where a person has a prolonged period of sadness, unhappiness, helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness. These feelings often get worse over a period of time, causing a person to have feelings of self- doubt, severe despondency and dejection.
Depression is an extremely common illness. There are approximately 350 million people living in the world today who are affected by it and it is the leading cause for a visit to see a GP or doctor. Depression also has a stigma attached to it that people who suffer from it are weak which leads to them not seeking treatment – less than half of all of the people with depression are currently engaging in any kind of treatment for it. Long- lasting and moderate or severe depression can be a serious health condition. It can cause an affected person to suffer terribly, leading to problems with work, breakdowns in close relationships and lead to poor physical health.
The worst cases of depression can lead to a sufferer taking his or her own life. An estimated 1 million people worldwide every year commit suicide because of depression. Half of all the people who die by suicide have major depressive disorder.
The World Health Organization have reported that by the year 2020, depression will be the second biggest cause of premature death in the world, heart disease will be the only illness or disease that causes more.
What Causes Depression?
There are many different causes of depression. It has many different triggers and there are multiple reasons it can develop.
Personal Factors are known to trigger depression. Those who have a tendency to worry a lot, have low self- esteem, are sensitive to personal criticism, are severely overweight, perfectionists, or those with a self- critical and a negative mindset all have a higher risk of developing the condition.
Depression has been known to run in families and some people will be at an increased hereditary or genetic risk. This does not mean that a person will automatically experience depression if a parent or close relative has had the illness though. Life circumstances and other personal factors are still likely to have an important influence.
Having a serious medical illness can trigger depression in two ways. Serious illnesses can bring about depression directly, or can contribute to depression through associated stress and worry, especially if it involves long- term management of the illness and/or chronic pain.
Drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.