Depression is a mood disorder characterized by absence of cheerfulness, dejection, and loss of interest or pleasure in living, making the person dysfunctional and unable to cope with or perform tasks of daily living.
More than a feeling, this negative psychological status can range from mild to profound and can involve other parts of the body, causing physical problems such as poor digestion, constipation, weight gain or weight loss, mentrual irregularities in females, and impotence in males.
Q: How is depression identified?
A: According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a psychic condition that lasts for more than a month and involves four or more of these symptoms:
- Abnormal appetite.
- Diminished ability to concentrate or think properly.
- Feelings of worthlessness.
- Low energy or fatigue.
- Physical inactivity or hyperactivity.
- Sleep disturbances.
- Thoughts of death.
Grief or sadness at the loss of a loved one or a similar event or remorse for sin is normal. However, depression that is prolonged usually involves imbalances of nerve chemicals called neurotransmitters. Imbalances can result from health disorders such as hormonal imbalances, low blood sugar, stress, drug side effects, or nutrient deficiencies.
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