Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders and can affect the individual physically, emotionally, their cognition and social interactions. Depressive disorders are caused by interaction of individual’s genetic, biological, environmental, and psychosocial factors. An individual can have a genetic predisposition, or abnormalities in neurotransmission. The increase or decrease of risk factors for mood disorders in ones’ life are affected by the individual’s circumstances and environment in which they were brought up. Depressive disorders are considered spectrum disorders and occur along a continuum of mild to severe. Different forms of the illness are associated with different risk factors. Some forms of the illness are triggered by predisposition and in other forms stressors are the culprit. Risk factors for depression include history of child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, loss of a loved one, dysfunctional family relationships, personal or family history of mental illness, or substance abuse.
Symptoms associated with depression include lack of energy, sleep disturbances, physical complaints, anxiety, agitation, anger, abnormal eating patterns, feelings of despair, guilt and helplessness. Depression can be also associated with frequent thoughts of death, suicidal ideations and suicide attempts. Treatment for depression is medication and therapy. Research studies find that when medication and therapy are used in combination the results are more favorable.