Why do people get depressed?

Answered by: Alexander Glassman

Almost everybody gets depressed in relationship to some kind of disappointment or loss. Psychiatrists put the label "major depression" on episodes that are persistent, lasting weeks or months rather than hours or days, and involve not just unhappiness but also a loss of interest or motivation.

Sometimes people even become suicidal. Like less severe depressions, they are usually the result of loss or disappointment or some similar stressful event.

Some individuals are probably more vulnerable to experience more severe depressions, and depressions do have some propensity to run in families.

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Alexander Glassman, M.D.
Chief: Clinical Psychopharmacology 

Alexander H. Glassman, M.D., is Chief of Clinical Psychopharmacology at New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Professor of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University. He is an authority on depression and antidepressant drugs, and has altered the standard of care for depressed patients.

He showed that inter-individual differences in metabolism of imipramine influenced clinical outcome and that delusional unipolar depression responded very poorly to antidepressant drugs alone. His work has clarified the safe treatment of depressed patients with cardio...
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