What exactly is depression?

We have all heard of depression at some point. In fact, it’s a very common term that people often use interchangeably when they’re feeling sad. However, depression goes much further than just feeling sad at a certain moment and can be much more serious than people think.

What exactly is depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. It can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, and physical well-being.

It is often accompanied by symptoms such as low energy, fatigue, changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions, and, in some cases, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and ability to function. Despite its prevalence in society, there is still a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the nature of depression and its symptoms.

What causes depression?

Depression is a complex disorder with myriad causes, and its symptoms can vary greatly. The causes of depression can involve a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Here are some of the factors that are commonly associated with depression:

  • Genetics: Depression can run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component to the disorder.
  • Brain chemistry: Changes in the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, can contribute to depression.
  • Life events: Traumatic or stressful life events, such as the loss of a loved one, a breakup, financial difficulties, or a major illness, can trigger depression.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain, thyroid disorders, and autoimmune diseases, can increase the risk of developing depression.
  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse, including alcohol and drugs, can increase the risk of developing depression.
  • Personality: Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem, pessimism, and a tendency to be overly critical or self-critical, can make a person more vulnerable to depression.

Diagnosing depression

A mental health professional can diagnose depression by conducting a comprehensive evaluation that includes a review of a person’s symptoms, medical history, and family history, as well as a mental health assessment.

A mental health assessment evaluates a person’s mood, thoughts, and behaviors. This may include asking questions about a person’s symptoms, such as how long they have been experiencing them and how severe they are.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is a handbook to diagnose mental health conditions, includes a criterion that helps professionals determine if all the symptoms that the person is experiencing fall into the category of depression.


There are several approaches that mental health professionals use to treat depression, including:

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, involves working with a mental health professional to identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to depression.

Medication: Antidepressant medications can be prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. However, medication alone is often not enough to treat depression, and is often used in combination with psychotherapy.

Lifestyle changes: Mental health professionals may recommend lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep, to help manage depression.

Support groups: Joining a support group, where people with depression can share their experiences and offer each other emotional support, can be helpful for some people.

The type of treatment that is recommended for depression will depend on the severity of the depression and the individual needs of the person seeking treatment. It’s important to talk to a mental health professional to determine the best course of action for you.

With the right coping mechanisms and care, it is possible to learn how to handle symptoms and begin the path to recovery. Depression can be successfully managed with the right treatment plan.

So, if you or a loved one have been struggling with depression, don’t give up hope! There is help available, and a brighter future is possible.

Reach out to us and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced therapists! oldamr.abogadosnow.com

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