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Depression (mood)

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity which can

affect a person's thoughts, behaviors, tendencies, feelings, and sense of
well-being. Symptoms of the mood disorder can be marked by
sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration and a
significant increase/decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping. A
great deal of people also have feelings of dejection, detachment,
hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. Those feelings can
either be short term or long term depending on the severity of the
person's condition.[1] A depressed mood is a normal temporary
reaction to life events, such as the loss of a loved one. It is also a
symptom of some physical diseases and a side effect of some drugs
and medical treatments. Depressed mood may also be a symptom of
some mood disorders such as major depressive disorder or

Lithograph of a man diagnosed as suffering
Factors from melancholia with strong suicidal tendency
Life events
Gender identity and sexuality Specialty Psychiatry, psychology
Medical treatments
Non-psychiatric illnesses
Psychiatric syndromes
Historical legacy
Creative Thinking
Stress Management Techniques
See also
External links


Life events
Adversity in childhood, such as bereavement, neglect, mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and unequal parental treatment of
siblings can contribute to depression in adulthood.[3][4] Childhood physical or sexual abuse in particular significantly correlates with
the likelihood of experiencing depression over the victim's lifetime.

Life events and changes that may precipitate depressed mood include (but are not limited to): childbirth, menopause, financial
difficulties, unemployment, stress (such as from work, education, family, living conditions etc.), a medical diagnosis (cancer, HIV,
etc.), bullying, loss of a loved one, natural disasters, social isolation, rape, relationship troubles, jealousy, separation, and catastrophic
injury.[6][7][8] Adolescents may be especially prone to experiencing depressed mood following social rejection, peer pressure, or

High scores on the personality domain neuroticism make the development of depressive symptoms as well as various other kinds of
depressive diagnoses more likely,[10] and depression is associated with low extraversion.[11] Other personality indicators could be:
temporary but rapid mood changes, short term hopelessness, loss of interest in activities that used to be of a part of one's life, sleep
ficulty concentrating.[12]
disruption, withdrawal from previous social life, appetite changes, and dif

Gender identity and sexuality

People who are marginalized due to either their gender identity or sexual orientation are more prone to depression.[13] People with
gender dysphoria tend to develop depressive moods when they feel as if they are not able to express themselves or if they are being
frowned upon for who they are. The same goes for people who have a sexuality that goes against societies norms, like being
heterosexual. Targeted groups are statistically more likely to commit suicide.[14]

Medical treatments
Depression is sometimes the result of healthcare faults, such as with misdiagnosing medications that has results of effects of inducing
depression in patients. Therapies associated with depression include interferon therapy, beta-blockers, isotretinoin, contraceptives,[15]
cardiac agents, anticonvulsants, antimigraine drugs, antipsychotics, and hormonal agents such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone
agonist.[16] The various different ways to treat mood disorders include; various forms of therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, taking
medications (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor, Anxiolytic, Antipsychotic, Antidepressant), or by speaking with a professional.

Abusing drugs, whether through intoxication, withdrawal, or from chronic use, can cause or exacerbate depression. These include
alcohol, sedatives (including prescription benzodiazepines), opioids (including prescription pain killers and illicit drugs such as
heroin), stimulants (such as cocaine and amphetamines), hallucinogens, and inhalants.[17]

Non-psychiatric illnesses
Depressed mood can be the result of a number of infectious diseases, nutritional deficiencies, neurological conditions[18] and
physiological problems, including hypoandrogenism (in men), Addison's disease, Cushing's syndrome, hypothyroidism, Lyme
disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, chronic pain, stroke,[19] diabetes,[20] and cancer.[21]

Psychiatric syndromes
A number of psychiatric syndromes feature depressed mood as a main symptom. The mood disorders are a group of disorders
considered to be primary disturbances of mood. These include major depressive disorder (MDD; commonly called major depression
or clinical depression) where a person has at least two weeks of depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all
activities; and dysthymia, a state of chronic depressed mood, the symptoms of which do not meet the severity of a major depressive
episode. Another mood disorder, bipolar disorder, features one or more episodes of abnormally elevated mood, cognition and energy
levels, but may also involve one or more episodes of depression.[22] When the course of depressive episodes follows a seasonal
pattern, the disorder (major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, etc.) may be described as a seasonal affective disorder. Outside the
mood disorders: borderline personality disorder often features an extremely intense depressive mood; adjustment disorder with
depressed mood is a mood disturbance appearing as a psychological response to an identifiable event or stressor, in which the
resulting emotional or behavioral symptoms are significant but do not meet the criteria for a major depressive episode;[23]:355 and
posttraumatic stress disorder, a mental disorder that sometimes followstrauma, is commonly accompanied by depressed mood.[24]

Historical legacy
Researchers have begun to conceptualize ways in which the historical legacies of racism and colonialism may create depressive

Measures of depression as an emotional disorder include, but are not limited to: Beck Depression Inventory-11 and the 9-item
depression scale in the Patient Health Questionnaire. Both of these measures are psychological tests that asks on personal questions
of the participant, and have mostly been used to measure the severity of depression. Several studies, however, have used these
measures to also determine healthy individuals who are not suf
fering from depression as a mental disorder,but as an occasional mood
disorder. This is substantiated by the fact that depression as an emotional disorder displays similar symptoms to minimal depression
and low levels of mental disorders such as Major Depressive Disorder, thus researchers were able to use the same measure
interchangeably. In terms of the scale, participants scoring between 0-13 and 0-4 respectively were considered healthy
individuals.[27] Another measure of depressed mood would be the IWP multi-affect indicator.[28] It is a psychological test that
indicates various emotions, such as enthusiasm and depression, and asks for the degree of the emotions that the participants have felt
in the past week. There are studies that have used lesser items from the IWP Multi-affect Indicator which was then scaled down to
daily levels to measure the daily levels of depression as a emotional disorder


Alcohol can be a depressant which slows down some regions of the brain, like the prefrontal and temporal cortex, negatively
affecting our rationality and memory.[30] It also lowers the level of serotonin in our brain, which could potentially lead to higher
chances of depressive mood.[31]

The connection between the amount of alcohol intake, level of depressed mood and how it affects the risks of experiencing
consequences from alcoholism were studied in a research done on college students. The study used 4 latent, distinct profiles of
different alcohol intake and level of depression; Mild or Moderate Depression, and Heavy or Severe Drinkers. Other indicators
consisting of social factors and individual behaviors were also taken into consideration in the research. Results showed that the level
of depression as an emotion negatively affected the amount of risky behavior and consequence from drinking, while having an
inverse relationship with protective behavioral strategies, which are behavioral actions taken by oneself for protection from the
relative harm of alcohol intake. Having an elevated level of depressed mood does therefore lead to greater consequences from

Social abuse, such as bullying, are defined as actions of singling out and causing harm on vulnerable individuals. In order to capture a
day-to-day observation of the relationship between the damaging effects of social abuse, the victim’s mental health and depressive
mood, a study was conducted on whether individuals would have a higher level of depressed mood when exposed to daily acts of
negative behavior. The result concluded that being exposed daily to abusive behaviors such as bullying has a positive relationship to
depressed mood on the same day.

The study has also gone beyond to compare the level of depressive mood between the victims and non-victims of the daily bullying.
Although victims were predicted to have a higher level of depressive mood, the results have shown otherwise that exposure to
negative acts has led to similar levels of depressive mood, regardless of the victim status. The results therefore have concluded that
bystanders and non-victims feel as equally depressed as the victim when being exposed to acts such as social abuse.

Creative Thinking
Divergent thinking is defined as a thought process that generates creativity in ideas by exploring many possible solutions. Having a
depressed mood will significantly reduce the possibility of divergent thinking, as it reduces the fluency, variety and the extent of
originality of the possible ideas generated.[33]

However, some depressive mood disorders might have an adverse ef

fect for creativity. Upon identifying several studies and analyzing
data involving individuals with high levels of creativity, Christa Taylor was able to conclude that there is a clear positive relationship
between creativity and depressive mood. A possible reason is that having a low mood could lead to new ways of perceiving and
learning from the world, but it is unable to account for certain depressive disorders. The direct relationship between creativity and
depression remains unclear, but the research conducted on this correlation has shed light that individuals who are struggling with a
depressive disorder may be having even higher levels of creativity than normal people, and would be a close topic to monitor
depending on the future trends of how creativity will be perceived and demanded.

Stress Management Techniques

There are empirical evidences of a connection between the type of stress management techniques and the level of daily depressive

Problem-focused coping leads to lower level of depression. Focusing on the problem allows for the subjects to view the situation in
an objective way, evaluating the severity of the threat in an unbiased way, thus it lowers the probability of having depressive
responses. On the other hand, emotion-focused coping promotes depressed mood in stressful situations. The person has been
contaminated with too much irrelevant information and loses focus on the options for resolving the problem. They fail to consider the
potential consequences and choose the option that minimizes stress and maximizes well-being.

Depressed mood may not require professional treatment, and may be a normal temporary reaction to life events, a symptom of some
medical condition, or aside effect of some drugs or medical treatments. A prolonged depressed mood, especially in combination with
other symptoms, may lead to a diagnosis of a psychiatric or medical condition which may benefit from treatment. The UK National
Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) 2009 guidelines indicate that antidepressants should not be routinely used for the
.[36] Physical activity can have a protective effect against the
initial treatment of mild depression, because the risk-benefit ratio is poor
emergence of depression.[37]

Reminiscence of old and fond memories is another alternative form of treatment, especially for the elderly who have lived longer and
have more experiences in life. It is a method that causes a person to recollect memories of their own life, leading to a process of self-
recognition and identifying familiar stimuli. By maintaining one’
s personal past and identity, it is a technique that stimulates people to
view their lives in a more objective and balanced way, causing them to pay attention to positive information in their life stories,
which would successfully reduce depressive mood levels.

See also
Behavioral theories of depression
Biology of depression
Cognitive theory of depression
Evolutionary approaches to depression
Existential crisis
Tripartite Model of Anxiety and Depression

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External links
Media related to Depression at Wikimedia Commons
Classification ICD-10: F32.8 · D
MeSH: D003863 ·
DiseasesDB: 3589

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