Understanding Depression

Depression is one of the most insidious problems that people face today. Understanding and coping with depression is important. There are many people dealing with negative feelings and emotions that threaten to destabilise their emotional and physical well-being. Unfortunately, this condition often goes undiagnosed due to our imperfect understanding of the causes and effects of depression. Being able to spot the symptoms of this condition better positions you to combat it.

The good news is that depression is treatable and seeing your doctor puts you on the road to feeling like yourself again and giving you the potential for feeling happy regularly. If someone you know is suffering from some of these symptoms, talk to them about what you think might be going on. It could turn their life around.


Depression is not brief. Every person has feelings of dejection from time to time, especially faced with a traumatic event such as grief from the loss of a loved one. Long-term, sustained feelings of sadness, isolation, and seclusion are a primary characteristic of depression. These feelings begin to influence daily existence, causing personal harm and straining relationships with family and friends. Although many people who suffer from depression do not seek aid, undergoing psychiatric therapy improves your changes of a quick recovery.


While the symptoms of depression vary from person to person, there are many commonalities that provide strong markers. Symptoms include deep sadness, as well as feelings of purposelessness and isolation. In addition, many sufferers experience feelings of guilt, insignificance and being helpless.

Along with such emotions, many depressed people experience physical symptoms. Fatigue, impatience, and loss of care about personal welfare are signs of depression. Psychosomatic indications also appear, such as headaches, cramps and digestive difficulties.

Types of Depression

Major Depression

Major Depression is associated with a persistent sadness. There is an inability to experience pleasure. A Major Depression isn’t fleeting—it’s everpresent and interferes with your life.  You might miss work, family gatherings and, at an extreme, may not leave home at all. A depressive episode of this magnitude should normally be treated medically.  If it’s not addressed, the condition may last up to six months or more. Unfortunately, it’s more common for Major Depression to reoccur rather than being a one-off event.

Atypical Depression

Atypical Depression is, paradoxically, a quite common type of Major Depression. Those who experience it can feel a short-lived elevation in mood when positive things happen. The mood boost, whether from being with friends or receiving pleasant news, is fleeting.  Atypical Depression is associated with weight gain, increased appetite, greater desire for sleep, lethargy and hyper-sensitivity to rejection.


Dysthymia is a low-grade type of depression that can last for a long time, such as one or two years.  It’s not debilitating like Major Depression but interferes with daily life. A person suffering from dysthymic disorder can feel anywhere from mildly to moderately depressed in general, mixed with short periods of feeling OK. Some people with dysthmic depression also experience Major Depressive Episodes, an unfortunate condition known as double depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) refers to a seasonal pattern of Major Depression that usually happens during the autumn and winter months when there is limited sunlight.  The symptoms disappear with sun exposure or use of broad spectrum lights.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression is a quite common experience for women who have recently given birth. It is considered to stem from hormonal upheavals associated with giving birth. The condition lasts longer and has harsher symptoms than just a bout of ‘baby blues’ and can occur anytime between birth and when the infant is several months old.


The two most common class of techniques to address depression are medicine and clinical assistance. Antidepressant medicines regulate brain chemicals in ways that make the mood and emotions of patients closer to normal. Many experts believe that antidepressants are over prescribed, especially considering the many long-term side affects that include addiction.

Psychotherapy is an interpersonal therapy that teaches people how to change their patterns of thinking and behaviour. By tackling the causes of depression and teaching people how to manage emotions, psychotherapy can be very effective for treating mild to moderate instances of depression. Psychotherapy success depends on the relationship between therapist and patient, making it important to choose the right therapist.

Understanding depression is an early step towards prevention and treatment. If you are genuinely depressed, you cannot expect to just “get over it” in a single day. Depression is a damaging and potentially dangerous condition. But you deserve to lead a life full of enjoyment and satisfaction. Taking the initiative to seek treatment will help you achieve that.