Major Depressive Disorder
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV); A person who suffers from this disorder must have a depressed mood, or have lost interest in things that would have normally brought them pleasure; for a minimum of two weeks. This must be different then the person's normal behaviors, and it may not be caused by a general medical condition. (American Psychiatric Association, 1994)
Depression is an illness within itself that affects the "whole body". (Staywell,1998) The body, feelings, thoughts, and behavior are all immensely altered when someone is depressed. It is not a sign of personal weakness, or a condition that can be wished or willed away. For some people depression is just temporary, but for others it can last for weeks, months and even years. The exact causes of depression seem to differ immensely, but there are some who believe that it maybe caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, or that it may even be hereditary. Still there are others who believe that it is a combination of social, biological, emotional, psychological, and economical influences that may cause someone who has no family history of depression to develop even a mild case of depression.
"Women are two times more likely to develop depressive symptoms then men"(Psychosocial and Behavioral Factors in Women's Health, 1990), and women who are among the child-bearing years tend to be more at risk. However this is not to say that men are not affected by depression. It is usually, because of negative social influences, such as economic instability, and/or the inability to handle stress in their lives.
Cited: American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, 1994. Irwin G. Sarason and Barbara R. Sara, Abnormal Psychology: The Problem of Maladaptive Behavior,10th ed. (Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002) Katon, W., and Sullivan, M. D., (1990) Depression and Chronic Mental Illness. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, v.51. pgs. 8-19 Klein, Daniel N., et. el (2004) Cognitive-Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy as a Maintenance treatment for Chronic Depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, v.72, i4, pg. 681(8) Nemeroff, Charles B., et. el. (2003) Differential Responses to Psychotherapy versus pharmacotherapy in Patients with Chronic Forms of Major Depression. National Academy of Sciences, v100, i24, pg.142(4) Rogers, Carl R., On Becoming a Person. (Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston, 1961). Staywell Company. The Practical Guide to Everyday Health Decisions (Institute for Research and Education: Minnesota, 1998) pg. 190 Women 's Program Office. Psychosocial and Behavioral Factors in Women 's Health. (Washington, DC. 1990) http://www.health.yahoo.com http://www.wynja.com