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Literature Review On Depression


Depression is basically a kind of heterogeneous illness which has multifactorial causes. The main perspective of depression is biopsychosocial. There are several kinds of episodes of depression which are given treatment fairly and effectively according to the severity of the causes of depression. There are several terms related to depression such as mental disorder, mood disorder, bipolar disorder, etc. In order to have a better understanding of the problem of depression as well as its causes, a detailed literature review has been conducted here. The literature review is mainly focusing on the analysis of the problem of depression among the people of different age groups as well as the major causes of different kinds of depression incidents found among different individuals.

In addition to this, the diagnosis of depression incidents as well as their treatments is also discussed in the literature in order to provide a good understanding of the problem of depression as well as the major causes of depression. This study in the form of literature review is quite important in the field of scientific studies related to mental disorders as well as in the medical field for diagnosis of depression related disorders among the individuals of different age groups. With the help of the literature review the other researchers which are doing research studies in the same field. This research studies is very much important for physicians, doctors, medical researchers, psychologists, and the medical students which are studying in the field of neurology.

The main purpose of the literature review is to have a good understanding of the incidence of depression as well as its major causes. The aim of the review is to investigate the nature of problems of depression among different individuals in different ways. In addition to this, the analysis of the major causes of depression is also the major aim of this literature review. The main purposes of the literature review are mentioned below under the following points:

  • Having a good understanding of the concept of depression
  • Investigation different forms of depression as well as their consequences.
  • Investigation the diagnosis of depression to find out the major causes.
  • Analysing the importance of appropriate treatment for depression related problems.


In order to conduct the literature review on the topic of depression and its causes a deep search has been done for the literary sources. For searching purpose the database we have maintained as well as on the internet has been accessed with some related key words. The major key words which have been used by us, Depression a mental disorder, Concept of depression, depression and its causes, Understanding problem of depression among individuals, depression, its causes, and symptoms among individuals, etc. All the literatures used for the purpose of review are quite recent. The literatures used under the following literature review are published between 2000 and 2011.

All the research articles and books used here have good relevance with the subject take under consideration for the literature review purpose. The selection of the relevant articles is done on the basis of specific criteria. The inclusion and exclusion of the articles is done on the basis of this criterion. In this regard, firstly relevancy of the particular books or article with the topic of literature review, the date of publication and the effectiveness of the written material are the major criteria for including or excluding different study materials. The articles which are having compliance with these criteria are included in the literature review and the rest are excluded.

Understanding Depression :

Depression should be understood in the form of paradoxes. According to Beck and Alford (2009), depression is considered as a clinical syndrome. Depression is considered as an exaggeration of the mood which is experienced by a normal person. Depression is completely different for normal mood of the individuals in both terms qualitative and quantitative (Beck and Alford 2009). Depression is not only a kind of disease but it is also a form of reaction. Depression is mainly caused due to the stress experienced by the individuals due to some psychological factors. In some other circumstances conflicts among individuals also gives rise to the situation of depression.

The term “depression” is used in everyday language for description of a number of experiences that range from temporary and slightly noticeable decrease in mood to an impaired and life-threatening disorders. It is common among women and people with other chronic conditions. If depression is left untreated, it can disrupt family life, personal life and can severely disrupt work. However, many of these consequences can be avoided as depression can be treated if people who are depressed seek treatment.

There are several ill-effects of depression that affects most aspects of life such as, health, work, social activities, satisfaction with life and work, etc. In comparison to adults who are not depressed, adults who are depressed are less physically healthy. Furthermore, adults who are depressed are likely to remain absent from work and experience the limitations in their professional work that they do compared to adults who are not depressed (Depression: A treatable disease 2000).

Horvitz (2002) mentions that in most of the situations, depression and chronic conditions go hand in hand. It can be said that depression is quite a common as well as dangerous complication that is seen in every chronic condition. There are several symptoms of depression, such as, depressed mood, unhappiness, sadness, etc. It is quite an understood phenomenon that almost all people at one or other stage of life feel depressed, but ongoing depression should be avoided. There are some harmful symptoms and characteristics of ongoing major depression, such as, disinterest in usual activities, extreme fatigue, etc. The population with depression is comprises of large proportion of adults who are of young age, women, and low-income individuals.

When comparing rate of depression in men and women, it is found out that women are more susceptible to depression than men. Higher rates of depression in women can be attributed to both social as well as biological factors. Women who are in age between 25 to 44 suffer from depression most frequently. Social factors, such as, dual responsibility of handling family and work create stress and depression among women.

Both men and women view depression in different manner. Women consider depression to be a health problem, while most of men take depression as the emotional weakness. Therefore, they hide their feelings as they are socially conditioned. If depression is left untreated, it can prove life-threatening. People who are depressed limit their social activities and tend to remain cut-off with their family, friends and community. As they are less satisfied with their life, they are not able to solve their problems with efficiency with which normal people without depression can solve. Depressed people are less satisfied with their family and friendship life (Depression: A treatable disease 2000).

Robbins (2008) states that it is necessary to recognize symptoms of the depression at initial stages themselves as nine characteristic symptoms of depression are depressed mood, loss or gain of weight, lack of interest in usual day-to-day activities, excessive sleep or insomnia, feeling of worthlessness, fatigue, less concentration or indecisiveness, thoughts of suicide, and feeling of retardation.

Nature of Depression as a Severe Illness :

According to Thomas G. Plante (2006), depression is a kind of illness which is basically heterogeneous in nature. The explanatory mechanism of depression is very much critical to be understood as it has different subtypes (Plante 2006). There is not a single cause of depression but are multiple factors are responsible for the incidence of depression among individuals. There are several episodes of depression. The people suffering from depression are given psychosocial therapies or antidepressant medications for the treatment of depression.

When someone suffers from chronic depression the people suffering from depression are given a combination of both mediation can psychotherapy. The impact of the depression occurs in both short term and long term. The chronicity of depression as well as its functional impact on work as well as the social life of the individuals depends on the nature of the particular kind of depression as well as the severity of depression.

According to Karen L. Swartz (2007), depression mainly arises from anxiety, sadness, grief and elation. Depression is mainly caused as a result of such kinds of emotions. Depression is not exactly mood disorder but have some sort of similarity with the mood disorder. Depression is a kind of family affair which has it links to bipolar disorder. There are several genetic mutations which gives rise to depression among children. As per the nature of depression it has been seen that when a person’s parents or grandparents suffer from severe depression, they have greater degree of risk for depression (Swartz 2007).

According to Beck and Alford (2009), the nature of depression is subject to different opinions of the psychologists. According to some authorities, depression is a kind of psychogenic disorder while as per some other depression is mainly caused due to some organic factors. In the field of mental health, depression is considered the most critical problems for the physical as well as mental health of the individuals. This has been seen that majority of the humans are suffering from the problem of depression other than some different diseases (Beck and Alford 2009).

Perry et al (2007) compares public attributions, stigma and attitude in context of depression among children and adults. The author states that childhood depression is more harmful and dangerous than depression of adults. Treatment of depression as a form of severe illness is recommended and people for all types of treatment in addition to coerced care. Although, people are unable to recognize depression as a form of mental illness and remain unwilling to seek services of an expert. Media links depression with violence and leads to building of the perception that depression is dangerous to society and instils fear in mind of people.

The article suggests lack of awareness among people and mental health literacy about depression in the adults and children. The author attributes childhood depression to genetic problem, certain types of chemical imbalance or the manner in which the child is raised. The Stress is also one of the major causes of depression in child and adults. It is recommended that children and adults with depression should seek treatment from psychiatrists, physicians, and psychiatric hospitals. Examination of full spectrum of problems related to mental health and reasons that are responsible for different adult and child problems can provide guidance to treat depression in child and adults.

Power and Orto (2004) mentions that the depression is an anger turned inward and is associated with severe disability and illness. Most people when become aware of the responses to their illness or disability, do not actually experience the clinical depression. All people, who go through depression which is the outcome of severe illness or disability induced losses, perform all the activities such as, play, work, etc. but all these activities seem to be hollow in nature. All those people who are suffering from more depression withdraw from all these activities and feel very tired to participate in all these activities.

Horvitz (2002) states that panic attacks are also outcome of depression. These type of panic attacks that come out of depression can be identified by extremely unpleasant systems, such as, sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, etc. The author states that depression is one of the most common outcome of the chronic illness. It is estimated almost one-third of population that that is suffering with serious medical ailment experiences one or other symptoms of depression.

As illness can lead to affect mobility and independence of the person, it changes the way or the manner in which the person with illness sees himself and relates him with others. Chronic illness can trigger depression that is clinically significant. It is necessary for the doctor and the patient to decide whether the symptoms of illness are just a normal response to the stress due to chronic medical situation, or the reaction is so intense that it requires additional treatment and specific medicines for doing away with depression.

Any condition that is chronic in nature can lead to triggering of depression, but the risk of occurrence of depression is more when illness is very severe. Specifically, when illness is associated with the pain, social isolation, or personal disability, there is risk of occurrence of depression in the patient (Horvitz 2002).

Major Reasons of increasing rate of Depression :

There are several major causes of depression which can be viewed through having deep insight into literary sources. According to Eric et al (2003), depression is the most critical chronic condition for which the claimants have been increasing day by day. There are several reasons which are increasing prevalence rates of major depression. It has been seen that with the increase of the age people becomes more depressed.

Glassman et al (2011) states that there is a vast improvement in health-care system and antidepressants industry is also gaining million dollars. Despite these developments, the change in the lifestyle of people over the past century reflects diminishing physical activity in the society which is now service-oriented, industrialized and technologically advanced. In past, people used to do physical activity which kept their brain areas active. Physical activity is important for maintaining mental health.

Today’s society has set standards that are much higher than before due to which people tend to raise their children in a perfect manner and make millions of dollars. Factors that are responsible for an increasing rate of depression are low economic status, demanding professional work, obesity, increasing divorces, poor relationships, diseases and illnesses, such as, cancer and other chronic illness, jobs becoming more stressful and demanding, etc. Poor relationships generate sad emotions and feeling of loneliness among people (Glassman et al 2011).

Kantor (2007) discusses the problem of depression saying that depression has become a modern disease as life styles are becoming more demanding, requires more money, and needs more time. This has brought limits to people’s mind, emotions and life. It, thus, brings in emotional, physical and mental suffering to adults and young ones. Teenagers of today’s society are at high risk of experiencing depression as society has set certain standards for them which are greater, that leads to building up of stressful factors.

Depression has strong correlation with physical health and can also occur as a side-effect of strong medications. As there is an increase in number of cases of ailments and illness related to cancer and other chronic diseases, depression is seen to be quite common in people of today’s society. People suffering from depression for a long time are at the excess risk for cardiac morbidity and mortality.

Houpt (2010) mentions the role of alcoholism, overeating and Obsessive-compulsive disorder for problem of being at a higher risk of occurrence of depression. Stress is also an environmental risk factor for going into the state of depression. Presence of external and internal stressors, in our society such as, social status, finances, physical and emotional trauma, increasing consumption of chemical substances, etc. play a significant role in bringing up depression in the people of modern society (Houpt 2010).

Symptoms of Depression :

The people suffering from depression show several kinds of symptoms. According to Eric et al (2003), the major symptoms of depression which are observed in a usual form are less engagement in the physical activities, taking in less healthy diets as well as more alcohol abuse (Finkelstein, Bray, Chen, Larson, Miller, Tompkins, Keme and Manderscheid 2003).

All these are the major symptoms which are seen among the people suffering from depression incidents. Physical complications among the individuals are also among the major symptoms of depression. Due to the increasing degree of depression among the individuals mental disorder increases to a great level.


  1. Plante, T. G. 2006. Mental Disorders of the New Millennium. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  2. Swartz, K. L. 2007. Depression and Anxiety. Johns Hopkins Health.
  3. Finkelstein, E. A., Bray, J. W., Chen, H., Larson, M. J., Miller, K., Tompkins, C. Keme, A., and Manderscheid, R. 2003. Prevalence and Costs of Major Depression Among Elderly Claimants With Diabetes. Diabetes Care 26(2), pp. 415-420.
  4. Beck, A. T. and Alford, B. A. 2009. Depression: causes and treatments. 2nd ed. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  5. Robbins, P.R. 2008. Understanding Depression. McFarland.
  6. Perry, B. L., Pescosolido, B. A., Martin, J. K., McLeod, J.D. and Jensen, P. S. 2007. Comparison of Public Attributions, Attitudes, and Stigma in Regard to Depression among Children and Adults. American Psychiatric Association 58(5), pp. 632-635.
  7. Power, P.W. and Orto, A.E.D. 2004. Families living with chronic illness and disability: interventions, challenges, and opportunities. Springer Publishing Company.
  8. Depression: A treatable disease. 2000. Online. Available at: http://www.agingsociety.org/agingsociety/pdf/depression.pdf [Accessed on: 23 September 2011].

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