Depression is a mental health disorder that affects a person's mood, thoughts, feelings, and overall well-being. It goes beyond the normal feelings of sadness or temporary emotional changes that everyone experiences and is characterized by "persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities." Depression is a persistent and prolonged condition that can significantly impact a person's ability to function in daily life.

On a global scale, about 5% of the adult population is affected. Although it can affect any age group, but is commonest in adults and affects women twice as much as men. 

Common symptoms of depression include "persistent sadness, feelings of emptiness or hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite and weight, sleep disturbances (such as insomnia or excessive sleeping), fatigue, difficulty concentrating, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide."

Depression is the result of interactions between genetics and environmental factors in susceptible individuals. 

Some risk factors for depression include family history, genetics, chronic stress, history of trauma, gender, poor nutrition, unresolved grief or loss, personality traits, imbalances in brain chemistry and hormones, certain medications, poverty, certain medical conditions, and substance use. 

Treatment for depression often involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT), can help individuals understand their feelings, develop coping strategies, and make positive changes in their lives. Medications, such as antidepressants, may also be prescribed to help manage symptoms. In severe cases, hospitalization or other intensive treatments may be necessary.

It is important for individuals experiencing symptoms of depression or their caregivers, friends, or relatives to seek help from a mental health professional.

The relevant professional can provide appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and support to help individuals manage their depression and improve their quality of life.

Dr. Yeibake Weriwoyingipre Silver

Senior Registrar, 

Faculty Of Pediatrics, MWACP.

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