refers to any downturn in mood, which may be relatively transitory and perhaps due to something trivial. This is differentiated from Clinical depression which is marked by symptoms that last two weeks or more and are so severe that they interfere with daily living. In the field of psychiatry the word depression
can also have this meaning but more specifically refers to a mental illness when it has reached a severity and duration to warrant a diagnosis.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) states that a depressed mood is often reported as being: "... depressed, sad, hopeless, discouraged, or 'down in the dumps'." In a clinical setting, a depressed mood can be something a patient reports (a symptom), or something a clinician observes (a sign), or both.
Depression can be the result of many factors, individually and acting in concert.
Environment Reactions to events, often a loss in some form, are perhaps the most obvious causes. This loss may be obvious, such as the loss of a loved one, or having moved from one house to another (mainly with children), or less obvious, such as disillusionment about one's career prospects. A lack of control of one's environment can lead to feelings of helplessness. Domestic disputes and financial difficulties are common causes of a depressed mood. Other causes of depression are climatic conditions, such as a rainy weather and a lack of sunlight, loneliness, and feelings that one isn't cared about by others.
Internal psychological factors Sometimes the depressed mood may relate more to internal processes or even be triggered by them. Pessimistic views of life or a lack of self-esteem can lead to depression. Illnesses and changes in cognition that occur in psychoses and dementias, to name but two, can lead to depression.
Biological models of causation These are varied but generally include hereditary, neurotransmitter, hormonal, illness and seasonal factors.