Depression: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Depression: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

       It is common for everyone to experience feelings of sadness, despair, and disgust at some point in their lives. Most of the time, these symptoms disappear within one or two weeks and do not have a significant impact on our daily lives. The feeling of sadness can arise either due to a specific reason or without any apparent cause. Usually, we cope with this sadness on our own. In some cases, talking to friends can alleviate this feeling of sadness, and there may not be a need for any formal treatment. But medically, sadness starts to be called depression when:

  • You may feel that your sadness lasts a long time and never ends.
  • Depression is so severe that it affects your daily life.

How does it feel?

    The severity of depression is much deeper and more painful than the simple sadness that we all feel from time to time. Its duration is also much longer than normal sadness and lasts for months. The following symptoms indicate depression: Not every patient has all the symptoms, but if you have at least four of them, you are likely suffering from depression.

  1. A feeling of sadness and depression all or most of the time.
  2. Do not take an interest in the things and activities you were interested in before, or do not take pleasure in anything.
  3. Feeling physically or mentally weak, or feeling very tired.
  4. Difficulty or inability to concentrate or focus on daily tasks or activities.
  5. Feeling inferior to others, low self-esteem.
  6. Blaming yourself for the little things of the past and thinking of yourself as worthless and ineffective.
  7. Disappointment with the future.
  8. Having suicidal thoughts or attempting suicide
  9. Sleep disturbance.
  10. Loss of appetite

Why does it happen?

    Some people may or may not have a specific cause for depression. Many people who are sad and suffer from depression do not understand the reason for their sadness. In certain situations, their depression can reach a level of severity that requires them to seek help and undergo treatment.

Everyday Life

    It is normal to feel depressed for a while after a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss. For the next few weeks, we will keep thinking and talking about it. Then, after some time, we accept the fact and go back to our daily lives. But some people are not able to come out of this sadness and suffer from depression.

    If we are lonely and don't have friends around us, either we will suffer from mental stress or physical exhaustion, and the risk of developing depression will increase in these situations.

Physical Diseases

    People who are physically ill are at increased risk of developing depression. These diseases can be chronic and painful, like joint pain or respiratory conditions, or they can be life-threatening, like cancer or heart disease. A viral infection like the flu increases the risk of depression in young people.


    Depression can happen to anyone at any time, but some people are more prone to it than others. The reason for this can be our personalities as well as the conditions and experiences of childhood.


    Most people who drink a lot of alcohol develop depression. At times, it is unclear whether a person has developed depression due to alcohol consumption or if they started drinking more alcohol as a result of their depression. Heavy drinkers have a higher risk of suicide than the general population.


 There is a higher probability for women to experience depression compared to men.


    In some families, depression is more prevalent.  For example, If one of your parents has a history of depressive disorder, your likelihood of experiencing depression is eight times higher than the general population.

What is manic depression or bipolar disorder?

    It is estimated that around 10 percent of individuals who suffer from severe depression also have episodes of panic attacks, characterized by sudden feelings of excessive happiness and increased activity levels without an apparent cause. This rapid attack is called mania, and the illness is called bipolar disorder. The rate of this disease is equal in males and females, and the disease runs in some families.

Depression: a person's weakness?

    Depression is a disease, just like diabetes and high blood pressure are diseases. This disease can happen to any person, no matter how strong he is on the inside. Just as patients with other illnesses deserve compassion and treatment, depression patients deserve compassion and treatment, not criticism and ridicule.

How can you help yourself with depression?

  • Don't keep your emotional state a secret.

    If you receive upsetting news, it is advisable to talk to someone you are close with and express how you are feeling internally so that they can understand and provide support. Often, repeating the words of grief in front of a close person, crying, and talking about it will lighten the burden on the heart.

  • Do physical work.

    Get some exercise, even if it's just a half-hour walk every day. Exercise also improves physical health and sleep. Keep yourself busy with something, even if it's just housework. This keeps one's mind away from painful thoughts.

  • Eat good food.

    Eating a balanced diet is important, even if your heart doesn't want to eat it.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are considered to be the most advantageous for one's health. In depression, people stop eating, which depletes the body of vitamins and worsens the condition.

  • Stay away from alcohol consumption.

   While some individuals may perceive that consuming alcohol can alleviate the intensity of their depression, the fact is that drinking alcohol can actually aggravate depression symptoms and make the condition worse. This may help temporarily for a few hours, but later you will feel more depressed. Excessive drinking of alcohol can worsen your problems, prevent you from seeking the appropriate assistance, and cause a decline in your physical health.

  • Sleep

    Don't worry about not being able to sleep. If you are having difficulty sleeping, resting by lying down and watching TV or listening to the radio can offer a sense of calm and reduce feelings of anxiety.

  • Try to address the cause of depression.

      Writing down the cause of your depression and brainstorming solutions to address it may help alleviate your depression.

  • Don't despair.

    Keep reminding yourself that:

    There are some other people who have experienced similar situations as you. One day you will get over your depression, even if it doesn't feel like it right now.

  • How can depression be treated?

    Depression can be treated with talk (psychotherapy), with antidepressant medications, or with both. The use of medication or psychotherapy may be recommended based on the nature and severity of your depression symptoms, as well as your personal circumstances. Psychotherapy is a recommended treatment for mild to moderate depression, whereas medication is necessary for severe depression.

  • Talk therapy (psychotherapy)

    Many people with depression feel better by sharing their feelings with someone they trust. Talking to a psychologist or therapist can be helpful in situations where it is difficult to share your feelings with family or friends. Psychologists are trained to listen and provide support and guidance to individuals experiencing various mental health issues, including depression. They can offer a safe and confidential space for you to express your feelings and work through your concerns. Additionally, they can provide various forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, that can be effective in treating depression. Treatment through psychotherapy takes time. You will usually see a psychologist for one hour each week, and therapy can last anywhere from 5 weeks to 30 weeks.

  • Antidepressant medications.

    In case of severe or prolonged depression, your physician may suggest taking antidepressant medication. These drugs reduce depression, improve quality of life, and improve coping skills. Remember that the benefits of antidepressants do not begin to show immediately after starting the medication, but may take 2 to 3 weeks. Some people find that their sleep improves within a few days of starting the medication. It gets better, and the anxiety subsides, but it takes several weeks for the depression to subside.

How do antidepressant medications work?

    The human brain uses a variety of chemicals to carry data from one cell to another. Two particular neurotransmitters, serotonin, and norepinephrine are thought to be deficient in depression. Antidepressant medication helps increase the levels of these chemicals in the brain.

Side effects of antidepressant medications.

    Like all other drugs, anti-depressant drugs also have side effects, but they are usually not severe and disappear after some time. In the early stages, some patients may experience nausea and anxiety when taking SSRI antidepressants. Dry mouth and constipation may occur in the first few weeks of taking antidepressants. If the side effects aren't too severe, your doctor will probably tell you to keep taking the medication because, in most cases, they are reduced or eliminated by doing so.

Do I have to see a psychiatrist?

   Treatment from a family doctor can lead to recovery for many patients with depression. If this doesn't make you feel better, you may need to see a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have received specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses and psychiatric disorders.


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