Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Kate M. Loewenthal
Living reference work entry

Latest version View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_161-7

What is depression? How is it seen by psychological, psychiatric, and religious authors? How is it related to religion and religious factors?

What Is Depression?

Depression is a term referring to a disabling and prevalent psychiatric illness: major depressive disorder (unipolar depression). But the term also refers to a number of other related states. Unipolar depression must be distinguished from (1) depressed mood, which is a normal emotional response to adversity, especially involving loss, which if transient is not considered a clinical problem; (2) bipolar disorder, a relatively uncommon psychiatric condition involving uncontrollable swings from elated manic phases to low, depressive phases; and (3) dysthymic disorder, a milder disorder involving the symptoms of clinical depression, but as few as two such symptoms (plus depressed mood) qualify the sufferer for the label dysthymic. There are a number of varieties of major depressive disorder and dysthymia, for example, seasonal...

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRoyal Holloway, University of LondonEghamUK