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Existential Depression

Depression is a psychological disorder that is characterized by a collection of symptoms including depressed mood, decreased pleasure, weight changes, inability to concentrate, abnormal sleep patterns, agitation, fatigue, or a preoccupation with death. The existential theory of psychology posits that human pathology, such as depression, arises from contact, either real or imagined, with one of the four ultimate existential concerns that face humanity: death, existential isolation, freedom, and meaninglessness. These concerns are not discrete constructs, but are intertwined concepts that create the fabric of our psychological lives, as discussed in this entry.

A preoccupation with death is the centerpiece of existential theory. Experiences that evoke death, the inevitable annihilation that faces every living creature, boggle the mind and create extreme anxiety. These boundary experiences commonly involve ...

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