Depression is an affective disorder which is often undiagnosed and untreated.
Literal meaning of affective disorders is mental illnesses characterized by pathological changes in mood and depression is referred to as pathologically depressed mood.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) depression is defined as “Common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.”

• According to the WHO, more than 350 million people of all ages have been victims of depression.
• Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from a major depressive disorder than men.
• With age the symptoms of depression become even more severe.
• About thirty 30% of people with depressive illnesses attempt suicide.

Common causes of depression

• Inherited factors
• Environmental factors
• Biochemical factors: Biochemical theory of depression postulates a deficiency of neurotransmitters in certain areas of the brain (noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine).
• activity of dopamine: reduced in case of depression, over activity in mania.
• Endocrine factors- hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome etc.
• Drugs or alcohol abuse
• Changes of hormonal levels
• Health problems that affect the brain
• Some medications

Common symptoms of depression

• Depressed mood
• Nearly constant feelings of sadness, anger, guilt or hopelessness.
• Loss of interest and enjoyment.
• Reduced energy leading to increased fatigability and diminished activity.
• Reduced concentration and attention.
• Reduced self-esteem and self-confidence.
• Bleak and pessimistic views of future.
• Ideas or acts of self-harm or suicide.
• Disturbed sleep.
• Diminished appetite.

Types of depression

• Major depressive disorder:

in this condition, low moods recur as long episodes or there is one never- ending extended episode. In this state of depression, one will feel devastatingly heavy overwhelming and debilitating mood of gloom and blackness. They may also experience loss of desire for activities including activities that they would normally find desirable.
An exact cause for major depression is unknown. However, many health professionals believe that it may be due to chemical changes and imbalance in the brain. These chemical changes may be due to genetic mutations, a series of highly stressful events or perhaps both. Symptoms of major depression include:
o Loss of energy
o Fatigue
o Frequent crying
o Increased worry
o Anxiety
o Changes in weight and appetite
o Difficulty in sleeping
o Feeling of emptiness
o Worthlessness

• persistent depressive disorder-

a state of that has lasted for at least 2 years, but is not experienced at the same magnitude. Someone with this condition is able to take part in daily life activities. But feels lifeless and unhappy the whole time. A few corresponding symptoms to this depression may be
o Changes in appetite
o Struggle to sleep
o Lower energy
o Low self-esteem
o Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness

• Post-partum depression-

This type of depression can take place anytime within the first year after the mother has given birth.
Women who have experienced depression before getting pregnant are at higher risk. Symptoms include:

o Feel empty and worthless
o May lose desire or interest for her baby
o Struggle with thoughts of wanting to hurt herself or the baby
o In rare cases, mothers will begin to hallucinate and act on those thoughts and hurt themselves or the baby

• Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder-

A unique condition that occurs only in women.
This is an extreme form of premenstrual syndrome or PMS.
The condition is known to cause extreme and even debilitating symptoms that get in the way of daily activities. Symptoms generally begin after ovulation and end as soon as menstruation starts, so basically during the second part of a woman’s cycle.
Symptoms include;
o Headaches
o Bloating
o Breast sensitivity
o Crying
o Irritability
o Panic attacks
o Joint pain
o Frequent mood swings
o Anxiety
o Issues with sleeping
To be diagnosed as PMDD you must have 5 or more of these.

• Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) –

A type of depression that occurs during certain seasons and then passes. It is most common during the fall and winter months.
This may be due to the reduced amount of sunlight during the winter months, although some experience SAD during the spring and summer months as well.
People with SAD may have an imbalance in serotonin, which is a hormone that affects your mood. They also may produce an excessive amount of melatonin and a deficient amount if vitamin D.
Depression symptoms of SAD may include:
o Sadness
o Carb craving and weight gain
o Fatigue
o Irritability
o Feelings of emptiness
o Lack of desire to do things one used to enjoy
o Troubled sleeping
o Thoughts of suicide

• Bipolar disorder (previously called as manic disorder) –

A person with this condition will experience episodes of depression. They typically have major highs and major lows.
There are 2 types of bipolar disorder.
Type 1- patient experiences manic episodes
Type 2– patient experiences hypomanic episodes and depression
the manic episode is not sustainable and leads to self-destructive behaviour, which is generally followed by stretch of depression.
A patient, going through a manic episode shows symptoms including:
o Loss of concentration
o Struggle to sleep but having a lot of energy
o Display risky behaviours

When a patient is experiencing major lows, he may show symptoms like:
o Feelings of hopelessness
o Lack of energy
o Unable to concentrate
o Feeling of increased guilt
o Loss of appetite leading to loss of body weight or excessive appetite leading excessive weight gain

• Dysthymic depression
This condition lasts comparatively a long time. But the symptoms are less severe.
Patient lives a normal live. But may not function well or feel good.

• Psychotic depression-

exists in someone who has severer depression as well as a form of psychosis. This may be in the form of hallucinations or delusions.
Hallucinations could be hearing and/or seeing things that others cannot see.

• Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)
A condition diagnosed only in children. It is characterized by severe irritability, intense tantrums and raging anger.
DMDD goes well beyond a few episodes of child moodiness.
Symptoms include:
o Irritability throughout the day, most days
o Three or more unexplained verbal or behavioural temper tantrums within a week
o Inability to function in most settings due to irritability
A child will not be diagnosed with DMDD unless these symptoms are consistently present for a year or more.

Treatment of depression

• Lifestyle changes
• Stress reduction
• Social support
• Sleep

• Cognitive behavioural therapy
• Interpersonal therapy
• Psychodynamic therapy

• Various kinds of antidepressants, antianxiety and antipsychotic medications
This medication has benefits as well as potential risks.


• Traditional treatment is included prescription of medication followed by counselling. But there are more effective alternative treatments available that you can try.

3 thoughts on “Depression

  • July 2, 2021 at 12:08 PM

    Very informative! Thanks for sharing

  • July 3, 2021 at 3:03 AM

    Very good! Thanks for sharing

  • July 3, 2021 at 5:27 AM

    This is a good article. Thank you for sharing 🙂


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