What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes intense feelings of sadness, helplessness, and loss of interest in activities. It interferes with daily life activities, affecting concentration and motivation. A severe depressive disorder can also affect physical health and well-being.

Signs and Symptoms

Depression is a complex condition that affects a person in various aspects, and a person experiencing depression does not necessarily have all the symptoms.

  • Feeling overwhelmed, restless, hopeless, guilty, miserable, or empty
  • Lack of confidence, indecisive, trouble concentrating and remembering
  • Loss of interest in regular activities, including those that enjoyed once
  • Feeling frustrated, angry, and easily irritable
  • Decreased energy, tired all the time
  • Loss or change of appetite and weight gain or loss
  • Changes in sleeping patterns, insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Headaches, muscle pain and chronic pain

What Causes Depression?

The exact cause of depression is unknown, but depression could be the result of a combination of long-term and recent stressful events, genetics, and psychological factors. The negative experiences and ongoing difficulties such as abusive relationships, unemployment, trauma, a stressful work environment, loss of a loved one, loneliness, substance abuse, and illness could be some of the reasons.

Types of Depression

There are different types of depression depending on the symptoms, which range from mild (yet disabling) to more severe conditions.

Major depression

Major depression is otherwise called major depressive disorder or clinical depression. The symptoms are low mood, distress, loss of interest, fear, and thoughts of suicide, and they stay for two weeks or longer.

Psychotic Depression

People with psychotic depression experience psychosis. Hallucinations, delusions and getting paranoid are some of the symptoms of psychotic depression.

Melancholia

Melancholia is a severe form of depression with a complete loss of interest in almost everything and also shows physical symptoms.

Antenatal Postnatal Depression

Almost 10% of women experience depression during pregnancy (antenatal) and the year following childbirth (postnatal) due to various reasons, including hormonal changes, and adjusting to changes.

Dysthymic Disorder

The symptoms of dysthymic disorder are similar to major depression with less severity but last longer (more than two years).

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder or manic depression is a combination of mood episodes where a person can experience extreme high energy to low moods with episodes of normal mood in between.

Cyclothymic Disorder

Cyclothymic disorder is a less severe but chronic form of depression (fluctuating moods for at least two years).

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a mood disorder that’s related to seasonal changes (light exposure). A person gets major depression during the winter months that gradually decreases and goes away in spring and summer.