Cause of Severe depressive disorder – Severe Depression

According to WHO ICD if a person develops following features then diagnosis for Depression should start:

The three symptoms of severe depression are:

  • Depressed mood which continues throughout the day and there are mood swings from day to day basis. At times the patient becomes unresponsive to events around him.
  • There is no interest in day to day activities, no form of enjoyment and pleasure is observed
  • Person looks more fatigue and there is reduced activity

Some other minor symptoms of depressive episode:

  • Loss of concentration and attention, which leads to forgetfulness and other mental disorders
  • Loss of self esteem and self confidence
  • Person develops guild and worthlessness
  • Person gets bleak and pessimistic thoughts and ideas
  • Development of self harm and suicidal tendency
  • Sleeping problems
  • Loss of appetite

How can we diagnose Severe Depression?

A person is considered depressive if he shows at least four major and minor symptoms of depression. Moreover, if he has lost interest in day-to-day activities he is considered to develop depression.

If a person develops hallucination and delusions them he is said to develop severe depression. He will definitely develop psychotic features.

If the person has displayed one or more depressive episodes in past then the diagnosis should revert to recurrent depression current episode Severe Depression.

If a person exhibits one or more hypomanic or manic features then his diagnosis should be changed to bipolar disorder current episode severe depression.

A person who has developed severe depression needs a psychiatric unit. A severe depression is a mental illness, which results in loss of interest, low mood and loss of pleasure from any activities. If such symptoms stay for more than two weeks, a person is said to develop depression. Some people get alternative depressed mood swings, such patients are said to develop bipolar affective disorder.

Causes of depression:

Main cause of depression is alternation in chemical imbalance in patient’s brain. Therefore, antidepressants are given to the patient to treat this imbalance. Early detection of symptoms is very important so that the patient gets timely treatment. This can save patients life from a great misery.

Major symptoms of Severe Depression

The below mentioned symptoms are enlisted from DSM IV diagnostic criteria. A person is said to develop severe depression if he exhibits at least five of these symptoms for minimum two weeks. One of the symptoms has to be low mood or lack of interest in daily pleasures of life.

  • Depressed mood: most of day and nearly every day person shows depressed mood. The low mood may not be due to some external factor like loss of job. the person develops depression and exhibits for days.
  • Lack of interest and pleasure: person stops taking pleasure from any of the activities around himself or herself. They do not enjoy life and are disinterested in life.
  • Weight loss: sudden loss of weight without dieting or any weight loss regime. This can be due to lack of appetite. Some people who develop depression gains a lot of weight. Therefore, any kind of weight extremities is bad in such cases.
  • Lack of sleep or increased sleep: this can be a major symptom of depression. People often get uncomfortable night sleep as their mind is occupied with depressive thoughts. Some people sleep a lot.
  • Retardation or agitation: you can notice restlessness in people. There is very less activity and some people become stupors.
  • Lack of rationalism in people and there is reduced concentration
  • Loss of energy and fatigue is observed in patients in case of severe depression.
  • People develop feeling of guilt and worthlessness.

Often the above-mentioned symptoms may force a person to develop suicidal tendency. People often plan for their suicide and indulge into self-harm.

Genetic causes of severe depression:

According to many studies, it is found out that depression is higher in identical twins than in non-identical twins. Multiple genetic factors cause the depression. This is polygenic inheritance.


There are some personality traits, which are more vulnerable to depression. The reason can be genetically or because of conflict of personality. Some people who are sociotropic, who require high need of approval and dependence develop depression. People who have undergone a very stressful life also develop depression.

Parental deprivation and Stressful childhood:

Many researchers and medical practitioners have mentioned that most of the severe depression cases are due to some bad events in early life of a person. Some of them are parental separation, diminished childcare, stressful family discords, fight between parents etc. all these factors are major reasons for depression.

Relationship with parents:

In most of the cases, physical and sexual abuse is the major reason for severe depression. Individuals who have had non- caring or overprotective parents develop depression or symptoms of depression later in life. There are mothers who transfer depression to her offspring if postnatal depression is not treated. This results in wrong child rearing styles.

Psychological factors

Sigmund Freud is a great psychoanalyst and has written various theories on depression. Most of these theories are now accepted in this modern world. If a child has had insecure attachment this may lead to severe depression later in life. this can be due to reduced ability to seek closeness and emotional support.

Moreover, it has also been noted that if an individual has had stressful events in his or her life, the person is more vulnerable to severe depression. Stressful life, tension, bad childhood, physical illness like HIV, endocrine disorders like Cushing syndrome affects brain and may lead to many mental disorders.

Neurobiological causes of severe depressive disorders

As per the current theories severe depression is caused by signal transduction problems in brain circuits. This develops problems in expression of certain genes, which may later lead to deficiency in certain neurochemicals in brain which develops psychotic nature. The brain is deprived of neurotropic factors like BDNF.

Depression is a feeling, which makes you sad, blue, miserable and unhappy. Most of us must have felt depressed some or the other time in our lives. However small depressions in life are very volatile and for shorter duration.

About the Author

You may also like these