Depression – major; Unipolar depression; Major depressive disorder
Definition of Major depression
may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The exact cause of depression is not known. Many researchers believe it is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, which may be hereditary or caused by events in a person’s life.
Depression can change or distort the way adolescents see themselves and their lives, as well as other people around them. People who have depression usually see everything with a more negative attitude, unable to imagine that any problem or situation can be solved in a positive way.
Signs and tests
Major depression is diagnosed if a person reports having five or more depressive symptoms for at least 2 weeks. Beck’s Depression Scale Inventory or other screening tests for depression can be helpful in making the diagnosis.
Medicines that you take for other problems could cause or worsen depression. You may need to change them. DO NOT change or stop taking any of your medications without consulting your doctor.
The outcome with treatment is usually good, but not for everyone. Depression is a recurring problem for many people.
Paul K. Berger, MD, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/14/2010