Primary affective disorder (depression)

General or Other | Psychiatry | Primary affective disorder (depression) (Disease)


Primary affective disorder (depression) is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable or restless.

They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable; experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions; and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may be present.

Causes and Risk factors

Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. It is a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions, and a side effect of some medical treatments. Depressed mood is also a primary or associated feature of certain psychiatric syndromes such as clinical depression.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Antidepressants and psychotherapy are the mainstays of treatment. Psychiatric hospitalizations may be needed for severe symptoms and for those with suicidal thoughts. For patients who fail to respond to medications and psychotherapy electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) may be an option.