Depression affects the entire body both physically and psychologically. Symptoms vary but may include persistent sleeplessness, sad or irritable moods, lack of self esteem, changes in appetite and physical well-being. Symptoms of depression can last for weeks, months or even years. Without treatment, depression could continue for years and can be fatal, leading to suicide. With professional help, most sufferers of depression can significantly improve.
People prone to depression may have certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem, general pessimism, or being overwhelmed by stress. Psychologists believe learned behaviors are also significant in the development of depression, as well as other psychological problems. People learn both adaptive and maladaptive ways of managing stress and responding to life’s problems within their family and society in general. These environmental factors influence psychological development, and the way people try to resolve problems when they occur.
Learned behaviors may also be a contributor for why psychological problems appear to occur more often in family members, from generation to generation. If a child grows up in a pessimistic environment, in which discouragement is common, that child may develop susceptibility to depression.
Environmental factors can also contribute to depression. For example, a serious loss, chronic illness, relationship problems, work stress, family crisis, financial setback, or any unwelcome life change can trigger an episode. Very often, it is a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors involved in the development of depressive disorders.