What is Depression?


term-definitionDepression is more than just common feelings of sadness and can interfere with a person’s daily life and their ability to function normally. Depression involves feeling sad, worthless, and lonely over an extended period of time. Depression can cause pain for those dealing with it and their families. It is estimated that about 7% or 16 million American adults experienced at least one major depressive episode last year. Women are 70% more likely to experience depression than their male counterparts and young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 are 60% more likely to suffer from depression than individuals 50 years and older. Depression is caused by a number of factors such as trauma, loss of a loved one, conflict, etc.

The disorder is caused by physical changes in the brain chemistry and can have genetic causes and derive from hormonal changes, stress, grief or be secondary to prescription medication or drugs. Certain medication such as Accutane, interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids can in fact increase a person’s risk for developing depression.

Last Reviewed:
September 13, 2016
Last Updated:
January 19, 2017