Understanding Depression

What is depression?

When defined simply, depression can be understood as pervasive sadness. People affected, experience loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.

There is a constant feeling that they are worthless, hopeless and helpless. These feelings in turn leave the person irritable and angry.

It is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.

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How is depression different from sadness?

Sadness is a human emotion that all people feel at certain times during their lives.

Feeling sad is a natural reaction to situations that cause us pain or make us upset but like other emotions, sadness is temporary and fades with time.

But if you are depressed, you will feel constant sadness for weeks, sometimes months.

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How is depression different from grief?

Grief can be experienced when a person experiences a major loss such as that of a loved one.

Grief is another intense form of sadness and sometimes looks like depression as both may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities but they are different.

For eg. Grief does not affect a person’s self esteem but depression arises feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing.

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Who can have depression?

IT CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE, AT ANY AGE.

Based on the cause and situation different people experience different forms of it, thus showing different symptoms.

For eg. A person with seasonal depression experiences social withdrawal during winter.

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What causes depression?

  • Genes, brain chemistry and hormones
  • Our physical and social environment
  • Personality traits and life skills.

Lots of things influence whether a person gets depressed.

Some of it is biology – things like our genes, brain chemistry, and hormones.

Some is the environment, including daylight and seasons, or social and family situations we face.

And some is personality, like how we react to life events or the support systems we create for ourselves.

Influence of drugs and alcohol, excessive stress are major contributors.

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How does depression affect your daily life?

Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

A person experiencing it feels constant fatigue. You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every-day. You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and making decisions. When suffering from a depressive episode, a person can also experience physical symptoms like nausea, stomach problems, etc.

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How can you identify if you have depression?

Some common symptoms like change in sleeping or eating patterns, a sudden neglect of things you are otherwise passionate about can be a sign of depression.

There are various online quizzes that claim to tell you if you are depressed. But since you are not taking your diarrhea medicine from WebMD, don’t do so for depression either.

VISIT A PSYCHIATRIST

A wrong diagnosis in case of mental diseases can prove to be extremely fatal.

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