What is Depression?

Are you depressed?



Some people misinterpret depression as just being sorrowful because of a certain event for a specific time. It isn’t a way of seeking attention. Depression is a mental or psychological disorder and disruption in the chemicals of the brain itself. It is lacking the will or motivation to do anything in life. Here is some important information about symptoms and risk factors of depression.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. One harshly criticizes oneself for faults and mistakes that they have no hands in. They continuously self-blame even about past failures.
  • Lack of enjoyment and general loss of interest (even in hobbies and other activities that used to be fun).
  • Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, etc.
  • Low self-esteem, low self-confidence and feelings of self-doubt.
  • Exhaustion and lack of energy. One’s whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are tiresome or take longer to complete.
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia, especially waking in the early morning – oversleeping).
  • Appetite or weight changes (weight loss or weight gain).
  • Trouble concentrating. Problems with focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained pains and aches; headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. One might think that nothing will ever get better, and there’s nothing they can do to improve the situation.
  • Loss of interests like hobbies, social or sexual activity, etc. One loses ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters. One’s tolerance level is low.
  • Reckless behavior. One over-smokes or over-drinks alcohol.
  • Slow thinking, speaking or body movements.
  • Distancing oneself from close family and friends.

Symptoms must last at least two weeks, for it to be diagnosed as depression.

Risk factors:

  1. Loneliness and isolation.
  2. Lack of social support.
  3. Recent stressful life experiences.
  4. Family history of depression or suicide.
  5. Marital or relationship problems.
  6. Financial strain.
  7. Early childhood trauma or abuse.
  8. Abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs.
  9. Unemployment or underemployment.
  10. Health problems or chronic illnesses.
  11. Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and being too dependent, self-critical, or pessimistic.
  12. Death or loss of a loved one.
  13. Certain medications, such as some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills (consult the doctor before stopping any medication).

However, people are different, and mostly depression is caused by many factors or reasons, not only one.

In a nutshell, depression is a serious mental illness; not just a temporary sadness that crosses one’s heart. It could actually lead to severe complications. So, please, never underestimate any of these symptoms or factors facing you or any person you care about.

References:

“Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs.” Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs: Recognizing Depression and Getting the Help You Need. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Nov. 2017. <https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-symptoms-and-warning-signs.htm>.
“Depression (major Depressive Disorder).” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 16 Aug. 2017. Web. 10 Nov. 2017. <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007>.

This is part 1/2 of the “Depression” series in our Mental Health Awareness Campaign.