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Mental depression is a general, non-technical term for a dampening of a person’s mood. Mental depression can be a temporary response to stressful or painful life events or a mental health disorder. This article provides an overview of mental depression.
It is important to note that sometimes people use the term physical depression to indicate a depression that comes from a physical cause. Medically, this is sometimes referred to as endogenous depression, meaning “depression that comes from within. But there are different definitions of physical definition, and it seems likely that all depression has a physical component. Therefore, the term mental depression should not be understood as a counterpart to physical depression in the way that you may be used to contrasting mental health and physical health or mental activity and physical activity.
It is normal, and one might even say appropriate, for people to react to the unavoidable sad and difficult experiences of life with a temporarily depressed mood, accompanied by feelings of sadness, a loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, and a general withdrawal from activities. Earning very poor grades, receiving a poor review at work, going through a break-up, and other kinds of painful loss and blows to the ego can lead to non-pathological depression. This type of depression usually lasts weeks at the longest and resolves without any medical intervention, though the support of family and friends may be important.
Depression as a Mood Disorder
When depression does not lift after some time or when it comes about without the prompt of a life event or when it is out of proportion to the life event or stressor that seems to have caused it, that is the time when the question of whether one is looking at a mental disorder involving depression is worth considering. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), all mood disorders except one either are forms of or involve depression. The types of depression that qualify as mental disorders include the following:
All disorders founding the category “Depressive disorders”:
All disorders found in the category “Bipolar disorders” (disorders in which patients experience both depression on the one hand and hypomania or mania on the other hand) except for Bipolar I disorder, single manic episode:
Depression as a Mental Disorder Co-existing With Other Mental Disorders
There are some situations in which depression is so frequently found co-existing with another mental disorder that there is a DSM-IV designation for the combination. This is the case for the following five disorders in which depression plays a part:
Depression can also be linked to other disorders that are not mental. Perhaps most strangely, a person can have both dysthymia and major depression at the first time. This combination is referred to as double depression.
Related Article: Mood Disorder >>