Diseases & Conditions


DepressionCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Depression?

Ups and downs are part of human life and cannot be labeled as depression. However, when a sense of despair, emptiness and worthlessness take hold of a person and do not disappear it can very well be a depressive disorder.

Causes of depression

Most ailments have a particular medical cause which makes the necessary treatment pretty straightforward. However, depression is not that easy because the condition is not in consequence of any chemical imbalance in the nervous system and as such cannot be cured by resorting to medication. Scientists are of the opinion that depressive disorder of all types is due to the combination of a number of components like biological, psychological and even social factors. This means that one’s lifestyles, relationships as well as coping skills and up to a large extent one’s genetic make up are all determining factors in causing depression.

Medication for depression

Medication cannot relieve depression in all people. They are neither a cure and have its own disadvantages. So it is better to learn everything about antidepressant drugs and find out the benefits as well as the risks to make an informed decision as to which medication is good for you.

Prevention of depression

Having supportive relationships, regular sleep and exercise, healthy eating habits, learning to manage stress and relaxation techniques and combating negative thinking are sure ways to prevent depression.

Risk factors of depression

All persons suffering from depression tend to have headaches. If you suffer any type of ache or pain like back pain, joint pain, chest pain, muscle aches etc, depression is sure to aggravate them. Depressive disorders can also cause digestive problems like nausea or queasiness, fatigue and exhaustion, sleeping problems, gaining or losing appetite with the resultant gaining or losing of weight, dizziness, vertigo and lightheadedness. Depression is a key risk factor for suicide. The extreme hopelessness and profound despair that depression can cause make one feel that suicide is the only way out from pain. Any talk of suicide is a warning sign and in a way a frantic cry for help.

Symptoms of depression

Depression differs from one person to another. It depends on the number of symptoms you have, how strong they are and how long they have lasted. When the following symptoms overwhelms as well as disables one, it is time to seek expert help.

  • A sense of hopelessness and helplessness that make one think that nothing you do can save the situation;
  • A total lack of interest in one’s daily activities like hobbies, social activities, sex etc.
  • Significant loss or gain in weight;
  • Changes in sleep patterns like waking too early or oversleeping (insomnia or hypersomnia);
  • Feeling or restlessness or irritability with low tolerance levels;
  • Fack of energy with a feeling of fatigue,
  • Total physical exhaustion and sluggishness:
  • Self-loathing in the forms of a strong sense of guilt or worthlessness;
  • Trouble in concentrating, focusing, arriving at decisions, remembering things etc.
  • Unexplained pains and aches with increased physical complaints like headaches, muscle aches, stomach pain and back pain.

Treatment for depression

It is necessary to know the kind of depression one suffers from to manage one’s symptoms and get the appropriate treatment. What works for you may not be beneficial to another. Once you recognize your specific symptoms of depression, spend some time to look for the various treatment options available. However, the best approach consists of a combination of lifestyle changes, building of emotional skills, social support as also professional help. Learning the practical skills to reframe your negative thinking as well as to apply behavioral skills to fight depressive disorder will also help. This can take you to the very root of the depression and help you to comprehend what factors kick start depression so that you can avoid them in time and stay healthy.

Types of depression

There are several types of depression…

  • Major depression,
  • Atypical depression,
  • Dysthymia or mild depression,
  • SAD or seasonal affective disorder
  • Bipolar disorder or manic depression.
  • Major depression displays an inability to experience pleasure and enjoy life. The symptoms that remain constant are in the range of moderate to severe and usually last for six months.
  • Atypical depression is more of a subtype of major depression. It is characterized by a particular symptom pattern and can consist of a fleeting mood lift as a response to positive episodes.
  • Dysthmia is a low grade depressive disorder that is chronic in nature. It is featured by moderate depression and short periods of normality.
  • SAD is when seasons like winter and fall can cause depression in certain people.
  • In manic depression or bipolar disorder moods follow a cyclical pattern that alternate between depression and manic episodes like hyperactivity, rapid speech, impulsive behavior and lack of sleep.