What is Depression and What i can do about it?

what is depression

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working and also you can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.6 percent of people over the age of 12 have depression in any 2-week period. This is substantial and shows the scale of the issue.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 million people are affected by this  globally.

is depression a disease?

Sadness is something we all experience. It is a normal reaction to difficult times in life and usually passes with a little time. It interferes with daily life and normal functioning. It can cause pain for both the person with depression and those who care about him or her. Doctors call this condition “depressive disorder”. It is a real illness. It is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. You can’t “snap out of” clinical depression. Most people who experienced with depressive disorder need treatment to get better.

How Do I Know If I Have Depression?

According to the DSM-5, a manual doctors use to diagnose mental disorders, you have depression when you have five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks:

  • You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and making decisions.
  • You can’t sleep or you sleep too much almost every day.
  • A depressed mood during most of the day.
  • You’ve lost or gained weight.
  • You think often about death or suicide.
  • You feel worthless.
  • You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.
  • You have almost no interest or pleasure in many activities nearly every day.

Can Depression Have Physical Symptoms?

It’s not uncommon for people with disorder to have physical signs of the condition. They may include

  • joint pain
  • back pain
  • digestive problems
  • sleep trouble

appetite changes.You might have slowed speech and movements, too. The reason is that brain chemicals linked to depression, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, play a role in both mood and pain.

what causes depression?

Although scientists agree that depression is a brain disorder, the debate continues about exact causes. Many factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including genetic characteristics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical illnesses, stress, grief, or substance abuse. Any of these factors alone or in combination can bring about the specific changes in brain chemistry that lead to the many symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder and related conditions.


There are different types of depressive disorder.

Major depression: Severe symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.

Persistent depressive disorder: A depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for 2 years.

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances. They include:

    • Psychotic, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
    • Postpartum, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
    • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. It’s generally lift during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not get better with light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy
    • Bipolar disorder is different from depressive disorder. The reason it is included in this list is because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extreme low moods. But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high moods (called “mania”).

How Do The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression Differ In Different Groups?

Depressive disorder is expressed differently according to one’s age, sex, and culture.

For example: A teenager is unlikely to exhibit the same signs of disorder as an elderly person would. An awareness of these differences helps ensure that the problem is recognized and treated early.

Teen Depression

In children and adolescents can look quite distinct from that of adults. Irritability rather than depression is frequently the predominant mood. A depressed child or teenager may be hostile, grumpy, or easily lose his or her temper. Unexplained aches and pains, such as headaches and stomach-aches, are also common symptoms in children and teens. Other signs include pretending to be sick, refusing to go to school, getting into trouble, clinging to a parent, or worrying that the parent may die.

Depression in Women

In women its rate are high as twice as they are in men. This is due in part to hormonal factors, particularly when it comes to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). When it comes to symptoms, women are more likely than men to experience pronounced feelings of guilt, sleep excessively, overeat, and gain weight. Women are also more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Depression in Men

Depressed men are less likely than women to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. In young males anti-social behavior may be a symptom of depressive disorder. Some other symptoms in men include anger, aggression and violence, reckless behavior, and substance abuse.

Depression in Older Adults and the Elderly

The difficult changes that many older adults face, such as bereavement, loss of independence, and health problems, can lead to disease, especially in those without a strong support system. However, it is not a normal part of ageing. Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional symptoms of depression, and so their mood disorder  often goes unrecognized. in the elderly is associated with poor health, a high mortality rate, and an increased risk of suicide, so diagnosis and treatment are extremely important.

Author: Muhammad Parvaiz

Mr. Muhammad Parvaiz is a botanist by profession. He has published many review articles and research papers in well reputed national, international scientific impact factor journals, magazines and newspaper. He is also co-author of a book, i.e. “Introductory Plant Taxonomy”.

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