Depression is a common and serious medical condition that negatively affects how someone thinks and acts. They may have unexplainable feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. This can also lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems, decreasing the person’s ability to function at work and at home.
Some people are at an increased risk of developing depression, though depression can affect anyone at anytime – even people who appear to live an ideal life.
Differences in certain brain chemicals may contribute to the symptoms of depression. These chemical imbalances in the brain are what drug treatments are typically based on. In many cases, there is a reduction in the amount of certain neurotransmitters found in depressed people, like serotonin and norepinephrine. Like many mental illnesses, genetics also play a factor. Depression can run in families. Personality and other environmental factors can also increase a person’s likelihood of developing depression. People with low self-esteem and who are easily overwhelmed by stress or are generally pessimistic in nature appear to be at an increased risk of developing depression. Those who are continuously exposed to violence, neglect, abuse and poverty may also be at an increased risk of developing depression.