What is depression? Depression is also known as clinical depression or a major depressive disorder. Still, it boils down to an illness that causes the person to experience low mood and negative thoughts over a period of weeks to months.
Some people belittle it and think it is not a real illness, but this could not be further from the truth. For the person suffering, it is as real as a broken leg.
The symptoms are varied, and you can find them on the depression symptoms page, but it is common for people with depression to feel everything is hopeless and futile. There are also physical side effects that could take headaches and various aches and pains like flu.
Is It Curable?
Yes, unlike a disorder such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, which are chronic mental health conditions, depression can be treated with lifestyle changes and through the taking of anti-depressants. For persistent depression, there is also the lesser used electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Normally if your symptoms are mild, you may be prescribed a mild anti-depressant along with changes in your exercise programme and potentially changing your diet. For heavy depressions, then antidepressants may take longer to work, and you could end up having to try several to find the one which suits you best.
Discover if you are depressed by using the Depression Checker.
Who Can Get Depression?
Anyone can become depressed, from adults to those in their twilight years. No one is immune to the potential of getting depression. It only takes one life event to possibly trip you over the edge, which is why keeping on top of your mental health is of paramount importance. The more effort you put into keeping your mind balanced, the less likely you will suffer from depression. Still, studies also suggest that 40% of depression is genetic, so it is even more important to follow a balanced lifestyle.
What is depression? It is a question which should be taught in schools as young people need to be more aware of their mental health. To offset any future depressive episodes, many charities do outreach to those in school, which is excellent.
The Cause of Depression
As I said, genetics can play a part in the structure of the individual’s brain. There is also the chemical component and the poor uptake of serotonin into the brain. All of these can have a factor. Not forgetting life events such as bereavement and abuse, which can bring about depression.
The question of what is depression can be tricky when trying to break down the causes. For instance, a mother could experience depression after the birth of her child because of hormones, and another person could experience depression through the chemicals in your brain known as neurotransmitters malfunctioning.
Types of Depression
- Unipolar is major depression.
- Dysthymia is a persistent depression lasting two or more years.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder an extreme form of PMT in women.
- Postpartum Depression is experienced by some mothers after childbirth.
Depression and Suicide
Unfortunately, depression, if left untreated, could result in suicide in extreme cases. If you or a loved one is feeling suicidal, please visit your doctor or go to the emergency room and seek help.
Here is a list of places you can contact:
- 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) US local suicide hotline
- 116 123 UK Samaritans
- For other countries use the Wikipedia page which lists by country.
You or a family member might be talking about suicide or thinking about it. There might also be the talk of self-harm to themselves or another person. The person could also be coming across as aggressive and reckless.
One problem is that when young people take antidepressants, they are more prone to suicidal thoughts, so always be on the lookout when a young person under 25 starts taking antidepressants.
You can read my articles on depression and how to alleviate symptoms.