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Depression: The Silent Killer


Depression is state of the mind characterized by intense feelings of sadness, anxiety and worthlessness. It usually lasts several weeks, months or even years. People who are depressed often feel unwilling or unable to engage in positive activities that previously made them happy.


Brain patterns of depressed people show less activity than normal

Depression often affects a person’s thoughts, behaviors and habits. People who are depressed tend to experience eating problems (they may over-eat or have a loss of appetite), inability to concentrate or remember details, sleeping disorders (they may experience insomnia or oversleep). Other symptoms include fatigue, aches or in extreme cases, substance abuse or suicidal thoughts.

While there is still a lot of ongoing research on depression, it can be caused by:

  1. Emotional Trauma: When people experience stressful events it can result in depression. These can include death of a loved one, physical or sexual abuse, relationship issues and major life changes.
  2. Imbalances in Body Chemistry: Most of the brain’s activity is as a result of chemical activities of neurotransmitters. When there is an imbalance, it may exhibit as signs of depression. Hormonal imbalance resulting from conditions such as thyroid problems and menopause could also trigger depression.
  3. Genetic traits: People who have relatives that suffer from or have suffered from depression are also more likely to experience depression.

It is important to get medical help when going through depression as it can also lead to other health problems such as hypertension and diabetes if left unchecked. People going through a depressive state are also likely to commit suicide.

Use our Depression Checker below to check whether you are suffering from depression.

content provided by NHS Choices

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