What is Depression? Symptoms, Causes, and Types

Depression Symptoms, Causes and Types

A feeling of sadness, persistently low mood and a lack of interest in a person signifies something is wrong with the mental health of the individual. Today, people often associate mental illness with an unstable state of mind. It is a hyped taboo to discuss an individual’s mental health. The lifestyle in today’s time is exhausting as well as annihilating as every individual is hustling harder to achieve greater things in life, but, is it really what we want? At the end of the day, what we really want is peace, satisfaction, and happiness, isn’t it? According to a report of the World Health Organization, India is one of the most depressed countries in the world. Nearly 36% of the population has suffered Major Depressive Episodes (MDE) while around 9% of people in the country have experienced extended periods of depression.

What is depression?

Depression, which is known by many names such as clinical depression, major depression or biological depression, is a mood; it is basically a feeling which does not remain overnight or two but continues to engulf the individual for weeks or months. This feeling of sadness is often accompanied by anxiety, a sense of hopelessness and lack of energy which sucks the enthusiasm of an individual. Depression is prevalent in women as compared to men. A person suffering from depression no longer finds pleasure in things which he used to enjoy before. Many people think that the person is lazy or is emotionally unstable; he is not trying enough to resist these hues of the “blue moods” but the reality is it is only the sufferer who understands the chaos within him, only that person understands what it takes to cope up with it, stoop further and restart the struggle with his worn-out tools.

Symptoms of depression

The symptoms of depression include the majority of the following signs which are experienced for days, weeks and months.

  • Persistent feeling of loneliness and sadness
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulties with sleeping (hypersomnia or Insomnia)
  • Total loss of enjoyable activities
  • Restricted socialising
  • Difficulties with eating
  • Gain or loss of weight
  • Difficulties with concentration or attention
  • The feeling of guilt and worthlessness
  • Restlessness
  • Impaired ability to make decisions, think or focus
  • Reoccurrence of suicidal thoughts

Causes of depression-

The causes of depression are not defined. It is not fully understood what initiates this gloomy mood, lack of joy and negative feelings within an individual. This is likely because of a complex combination of genetic, biological, and psychological factors.

Some more causes are-

Biological changes (changes in neurotransmitter levels)
Genetic changes.
Psychological changes.
Life events such as divorce, work issues, relationships.
Financial problems, health concerns, and acute stress.
Childhood or previous trauma.
Employment issues.
Abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Types of depression-

There are various types of depression. The most pervasive ones include.

Bipolar Disorder- It is a mental condition which is marked by alternating periods of elation and depression. In this condition, there are extreme mood shifts, fluctuations in energy and activity levels. These all things can make day-to-day living extremely difficult. Psychosis including hallucinations can occur in more extreme cases of bipolar depression.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)- A person is diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) when he lacks interest in activities normally enjoyed when there occur changes in sleep, fatigue, thoughts of death and suicidal thoughts or a person faces difficulties in concentrating for a period of more than two weeks. MDD is commonly known as clinical depression.

Persistent Depressive Disorder- Persistent Depressive Disorder is generally referred to as Dysthymia. It is a type of chronic depression which can last for days or years. It can be sometimes mild, moderate or severe as per the intensity.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – This syndrome is basically dependent on a person’s mood. A person can feel extreme fatigue, sadness, hopelessness or may be self-critical while suffering from this syndrome. Hormonal treatments and change in lifestyle is the best cure for PMDD.

Atypical Depression- As the name suggests there are no typical symptoms associated with this type of depression. Atypical depression is specifically associated with excessive weight gain, fatigue, intense sensitivity to rejection, strongly reactive moods and fluctuations.

All human beings go through stress in today’s time due to their personal or professional problems but stress should not be confused with depression as it is a much wider term. People must talk and discuss the troubles they face and should follow a healthy lifestyle. Meditation can also help in certain cases.