What is depression?

Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with an individual’s everyday tasks.

It’s also fairly common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and over had depression in any given 2-week interval from 2013 to 2016.

Folks experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your everyday work, resulting in lost time and reduced productivity. Additionally, it may influence relationships and some chronic health ailments.

Conditions That Could get worse due to depression include:

  • Arthritis
  • Infection
  • cardiovascular disease
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • obesity

It’s important to realize that feeling down sometimes is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events occur to everyone. But, if you’re feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis, you might be dealing with depression.

Depression is regarded as a serious medical condition that could get worse without proper therapy. People who seek treatment often see improvements in symptoms in just a few weeks.

Depression symptoms

Depression can be more than a constant state of sadness or feeling “blue”

Major depression can cause a variety of symptoms. Some affect your mood, and others influence your body. Symptoms may also be ongoing or come and go.

The symptoms of depression can be experienced differently among men, women, and kids otherwise.

Men may experience symptoms related to their:

  • Mood, such as anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness
  • emotional well-being, such as feeling empty, sad, despairing
  • behavior, such as loss of interest, no more finding pleasure in favorite activities, feeling tired easily, thoughts of suicide, drinking too, using drugs, engaging in high-risk activities
  • sexual interest, such as diminished sexual desire, lack of sexual performance
  • cognitive abilities, such as inability to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, delayed responses during conversations
  • sleep patterns, such as insomnia, restless sleep, and excessive sleepiness, not sleeping through the night
  • physically well-being, such as fatigue, pains, headache, digestive problems

Women may experience symptoms related to their own:

  • Mood, such as irritability
  • emotional well-being, such as feeling sad or empty, stressed or despairing
  • behavior, such as loss of interest in activities, withdrawing from social engagements, ideas of suicide
  • cognitive abilities, such as thinking or speaking more gradually
  • sleep patterns, such as difficulty sleeping throughout the night, waking early, sleeping too much
  • physical well-being, such as diminished energy, greater fatigue, changes in appetite, weight changes, aches, pain, headaches, increased cramps

Children may experience symptoms related to their own:

  • Mood, such as irritability, anger, mood swings, crying
  • emotional well-being, such as feelings of incompetence (e.g. “I can not do anything right”) or grief, crying, extreme sadness
  • behavior, such as getting into trouble at school or refusing to go to college, avoiding friends or siblings, thoughts of suicide or death
  • cognitive abilities, such as difficulty concentrating, the decline in school performance, changes in levels
  • sleep routines, such as difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • physical well-being, such as loss of energy, gastrointestinal problems, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain

The symptoms may extend beyond your mind.

These seven physical symptoms of depression prove that depression isn’t just all in your head.

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Depression Causes

There are numerous possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial.

Frequent causes include:

  • Family history. You are at a greater risk for developing depression when you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
  • Early childhood trauma. Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful circumstances.
  • Brain structure. There’s a higher risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists do not know whether this occurs before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at greater risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Drug Usage. A history of alcohol or drug misuse can affect your risk.

About 21 percent of people who have a compound use problem also experience depression. In addition to these causes, other risk factors for depression include:

  • Non-self-esteem or being self-critical
  • personal history of psychological illness
  • certain medicines
  • stressful events, such as loss of a loved one, economical problems, or even a divorce

Many things can affect feelings of depression, as well as who develops the illness and who doesn’t.

The causes of depression are usually tied to other elements of your wellbeing.

Nonetheless, oftentimes, healthcare providers are unable to ascertain what’s causing depression.

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Depression Test

There isn’t one test to diagnose depression. But your healthcare provider may make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a psychological evaluation.

In most cases, they’ll ask a series of queries concerning your:

  • Moods
  • appetite
  • sleep pattern
  • activity level
  • thoughts

Since depression can be connected to other health issues, your healthcare provider may also conduct a physical examination and order blood work. Sometimes thyroid issues or even a vitamin D deficiency can cause symptoms of depression.

Don’t ignore symptoms of depression. If your mood doesn’t improve or gets worse, seek medical assistance. Depression is a serious mental health condition together with the potential for complications.

If left untreated, complications may include:

  • Weight gain or loss
  • physical pain
  • chemical use problems
  • panic attacks
  • relationship issues
  • societal isolation
  • thoughts of suicide
  • self-harm

Types of Depression

Depression can be broken up into categories based on the severity of symptoms. Some people today experience temporary and mild episodes, while others experience intense and continuing depressive episodes.

There are just two main kinds: major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder.

Major depressive disorder

A major depressive disorder is the more severe form of depression. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that do not go away on their own.

So as to be diagnosed with clinical depression, you should experience 5 or more of these symptoms within a 2-week interval:

  • Feeling depressed most of the afternoon
  • loss of interest in most regular activities
  • significant weight loss or benefit
  • sleeping a lot or not being able to sleep soundly
  • slowed thinking or motion
  • fatigue or low energy many days
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • loss of concentration or indecisiveness
  • recurring thoughts of death or suicide

There are different subtypes of major depressive disorder, which the American Psychiatric Association refers to as “specifiers.”

These include:

  • Irregular features
  • anxious distress
  • mixed attributes
  • peripartum beginning, during pregnancy or right after giving birth
  • seasonal patterns
  • melancholic attributes
  • psychotic attributes
  • catatonia

Persistent depressive disorder

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) used to be known as dysthymia. It’s a milder, but chronic, form of depression.

In order for the identification to be made, symptoms must last for at least 2 years. PDD can influence your life more than major depression because it lasts for a longer period.

It’s common for Those Who Have PDD to:

  • Lose interest in normal daily tasks
  • feel despairing
  • lack productivity
  • have reduced self-esteem

Depression may be treated successfully, but it’s important to stick to your treatment program.

Treatment for depression

Living with depression can be tough, but treatment can help improve your quality of life. Speak with your healthcare provider about potential choices.

You may successfully manage symptoms with a single kind of treatment, or you may find that a combination of treatments works best.

It’s common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle treatments, including the following:


Your healthcare provider may prescribe:

  • antidepressants
  • antianxiety
  • antipsychotic medications

Every type of medication that’s used to treat depression has benefits and potential dangers.


Discussing with a therapist can help you learn skills to deal with negative feelings. You may also gain from family or group treatment sessions.

Light therapy

Exposure to dosages of white light will help regulate your mood and improve symptoms of depression. Light treatment is often used in seasonal affective disorder, which is currently called major depressive disorder with seasonal routine.

Alternative therapies

Ask your healthcare provider about acupuncture or meditation. Some herbal supplements can also be used to treat depression, like St. John’s wort, SAMe, and fish oil.

Talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or combining a supplement with prescription drugs since some supplements may respond with specific medicines. Some supplements may also worsen depression or reduce the effectiveness of the medication.


Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity 3 to 5 days every week. Exercise may increase the body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Drinking or misusing drugs may make you feel better for just a little bit. But in the long term, these substances can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse.

Learn how to say no

Feeling overwhelmed can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms. Placing boundaries in your professional and personal life can help you feel better.

Take care of your self

It is also possible to improve symptoms of depression by caring for yourself. Including getting loads of sleep, eating a healthy diet, preventing negative individuals, and engaging in pleasurable activities.

Sometimes depression doesn’t respond to medication. Your healthcare provider may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms don’t improve.

These include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to treat depression and improve your mood.

Natural treatment for depression

Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counseling. But there are also alternative or complementary treatments you can try.

It’s important to keep in mind that many of these natural treatments have few research demonstrating their effects on depression, bad or good.

Likewise the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve many of the dietary supplements available on the market in the United States, and that means you would like to be certain you’re buying products from a trusted brand.

Talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your treatment program.


Several forms of supplements are considered to have some positive effects on depression symptoms.

St. John’s wort
Studies have been mixed, but this natural treatment is employed in Europe as an antidepressant medicine. In the United States, it hasn’t received the exact same approval.

S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe)
This compound has shown in limited studies to possibly ease symptoms of depression. The effects were best seen in people using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a type of conventional antidepressant.

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
5-HTP may increase serotonin levels in the mind, which might ease symptoms. Your body makes this chemical when you consume tryptophan, a protein building block.

Omega-3 fatty acids
These critical fats are important to neural growth and brain health. Adding omega-3 supplements to your diet may help reduce depression symptoms.

Essential oils

Essential oils are a popular natural remedy for many ailments, but research into their effects on depression is limited.

People with depression may find symptom relief with the following essential oils:

Wild ginger: Inhaling this strong odor may trigger serotonin receptors in your brain. This may slow the discharge of stress-inducing hormones.
Bergamot: This citrusy essential oil has been proven to decrease anxiety in patients undergoing an operation. The identical advantage may help individuals who experience stress as a result of depression, but there is no research to support that claim.

Other oils, such as chamomile or increased oil, may have a calming effect when they are inhaled. These oils may be beneficial throughout short-term use.


Vitamins are important to many bodily functions. Research implies two vitamins are especially useful for easing symptoms of depression:

Vitamin B: B-12 and B-6 are all vital to brain health. When your vitamin B levels are low, your risk for developing depression may be higher.
Vitamin D: Sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because exposure to sunlight supplies it to your body, Vitamin D is also important for brain, heart, and bone health. People who are depressed are more likely to have low levels of this vitamin.

Many herbs, supplements, and vitamins assert to help ease symptoms of depression, but many have not shown themselves to succeed in clinical research.

Preventing depression

Depression is not generally regarded as preventable. It’s difficult to recognize what causes it, which means preventing it is harder.

But when you’ve experienced a depressive episode, you may be better prepared to avoid a future incident by studying which lifestyle changes and treatments are helpful.

Techniques that may help include:

  • Regular exercise
  • getting Lots of sleep
  • maintaining treatments
  • reducing stress
  • building powerful relationships with other people

Other techniques and thoughts may also help you stop depression.

Bipolar depression

Bipolar depression occurs in particular types of bipolar disorder, once the person experiences a depressive episode.

Individuals with bipolar disorder may experience significant mood swings. Episodes of bipolar 2, for example, normally range from manic episodes of high energy to depressive episodes of low energy.

This depends on the sort of bipolar disorder you have. A diagnosis of bipolar 1 just has to have the presence of manic episodes, not depression.

Symptoms of depression in people with bipolar disorder may include:

  • Loss of interest or enjoyment from normal actions
  • feeling depressed, worried, anxious, or empty
  • not having the energy or struggling to complete tasks
  • problem with recall or memory
  • sleeping too much or sleeplessness
  • weight gain or fat loss as a result of increased or decreased appetite
  • considering death or suicide

When bipolar disorder is treated, many will experience fewer and less serious symptoms of depression, should they experience depressive episodes.

Depression and anxiety

Depression and anxiety can happen in someone at the exact same time. Actually, research has revealed that over 70 percent of people with depressive disorders also have symptoms of anxiety.

Though they’re thought to be Brought on by different things, depression and anxiety can produce several similar symptoms, which may include:

  • Irritability
  • difficulty with memory or concentration
  • sleep difficulties

The two conditions also share some common treatments.

Both anxiety and depression can be treated with:

  • Treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral treatment
  • medication
  • alternative therapies, such as hypnotherapy

If you feel you are experiencing symptoms of either of these conditions or the two of these, make an appointment to speak to your healthcare provider. It is possible to work with them to identify coexisting symptoms of anxiety and depression and how they may be treated.

Depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It causes undesirable and repeated ideas, recommendations, and anxieties (obsessions).

These fears cause you to act out recurrent behaviors or rituals (compulsions) that you hope will ease the stress caused by the obsessions.

People diagnosed with OCD often find themselves at a loop of obsessions and compulsions. If you have these behaviors, you may feel isolated because of these. This can result in withdrawal from friends and social situations, which may increase your risk for depression.

It’s not unusual for someone with OCD to also have depression. Having one anxiety disorder can boost your odds of getting another. Up to 80 percent of people with OCD also have major depression.

This dual diagnosis is a concern with kids, also. Their compulsive behaviors, which may be first growing at a young age, can cause them to feel unusual. That can lead to withdrawal from friends and can increase the odds of a child developing depression.

Depression with psychosis

Some individuals who have been diagnosed with major depression may also have symptoms of another mental disorder called psychosis. When the two conditions occur together, it’s called depressive psychosis.

Depressive psychosis causes people to view, hear, believe, or smell things that are not real. People with the condition may also experience feelings of despair, hopelessness, and irritability.

The combo of the two conditions is especially hazardous. That’s because someone with depressive psychosis may experience delusions which make them have thoughts of suicide or take unusual risks.

It is unclear what causes these two conditions or the reason why they can occur together, but treatment can successfully alleviate symptoms. Treatments include medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Understanding the risk factors and potential causes can help you be conscious of symptoms.

Depression in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is often an exciting time for people. But, it may nonetheless be common for a pregnant woman to experience depression.

Symptoms of depression during pregnancy include:

  • Changes in appetite or eating habits
  • feeling despairing
  • anxiety
  • losing interest in activities and things you previously enjoyed
  • persistent sadness
  • troubles concentrating or remembering
  • sleeping problems, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • ideas of suicide or death

Treatment for depression during pregnancy may focus entirely on talk therapy and other natural treatments.

While some girls do choose antidepressants during their pregnancy, it is not clear which ones would be the safest. Your healthcare provider may help you try out an alternative option until after the birth of your baby.

The dangers for depression can continue after the baby arrives. Postpartum depression, that is also called major depressive disorder with peripartum onset, is a critical concern for new mothers.

Depression and alcohol

Studies have established a link between alcohol use and depression. People who have depression are more likely to misuse alcohol.

Out of those 20.2 million U.S. adults who experienced a substance use disorder, about 40 percent had a co-occurring mental illness.

In accordance with some 2012 research, 63.8 percent of all people that are alcohol dependent have depression.

Drinking alcohol frequently can make symptoms of depression worse, and people who have depression are more likely to misuse alcohol or become reliant on it.

Outlook for depression

Depression could be temporary, or it may be a long-term challenge. Treatment does not necessarily make your depression go away entirely.

However, treatment frequently makes symptoms more manageable. Managing symptoms of depression involve finding the right combination of medications and remedies.

If one treatment doesn’t work, speak to your healthcare provider. They can help you create a different treatment program that may work better in helping you manage your problem.



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