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Depression: What It Is, Causes, Signs, Relief and Self Help, Treatment

In depression, a person experiences a low feeling characterized by symptoms of being unhappy, sad, disappointed, or miserable. It is of course normal to have such feelings for a short duration in the normal course of life. But when these feelings continue for a prolonged period and get in the way of a person's normal way of living, they move into the realm of what is depression.

Depression: Definition, Causes, Signs, Relief and Self Help, Treatment: Depression And Suicide


Depression is a mood disorder that combines such feelings as those of being lost, sad, angry, and frustrated over a long period without a valid reason being present.
It is normal to have times when you experience all of these feelings as life throws things at you, but not for these feelings to continue for prolonged periods.

What is Depression Like?

Depression is not an all or nothing occurrence. It can range from mild to severe. Some of the symptoms used in assessing the severity of depression include abnormal amounts of sleep, changes in appetite, changes in weight, and the amount of fatigue reported by the person believed to be suffering from depression.

Depression has been a subject that has been well researched and analyzed. It has been identified that the person with depression will experience absence of self-worth or self-esteem. The person may not be able to concentrate. The person may also harbor a guilt feeling or a self-hate feeling.

Restlessness, irritability, agitation, inactivity and withdrawal from normal life activities are various other symptoms that may be found in depressed individuals. Helplessness and hopelessness are common feelings as well. But the most critical symptoms used in determining what is depression and what is normal are when a person contemplates suicide, or goes a step further and contemplates how to commit suicide.

There are other, more specific, symptoms that can help you determine what is depression. Feelings of worthlessness are common among depressed individuals. The inability to enjoy the activities they once enjoyed is another symptom to look out for in depressed people. Some people even lose their sex drive during depression.

When someone who is not normally angry is suddenly angry much of the time, you may want to ask about other symptoms of what is depression. This is one of the few symptoms that is easy to spot in children suffering from depression.

In our life time 1 in 5 people will suffer from some form of depression which is many a time the leading cause of alcoholismdrug abuse and other addictions. Women are commonly found to be suffering from what is depression than men, especially in the young adult years.

The good news is that depression is treatable.

Check out this article... ⇩

What Causes Depression

There are many known causes of depression. The depression can be psychological, making the person have a low mood and constantly worried and/or upset.

It can also affect your mood as it affects the hormones which control your feelings and moods. Mood swings are associated with some types of depression, and it is many a time the chemical imbalance in the brain and/or hormonal imbalance which can lead to depression. These hormonal imbalances can be triggered by an unhappy event.

Regular situations that lead to sadness can trigger depression such as death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job, or any stressful life change. (Learn here more on Situational Depression

Sometimes, depression is thought to be genetic, especially if there is a history of depression in the family. But usually, it is the genes combined with other environmental factors which can lead to the depression.

However, there is no basis to believe that genetics play a big part in triggering depressive behavior as statistics show that people who do not have a genetic history of depression are just as likely to suffer from it.

There are many things that can trigger depression in an individual predisposed towards depression.

Depression can stem from other illnesses such as an underactive thyroid, a stroke, anemia or diabetes. Usually, it is caused from the sheer stress of having one of these illnesses or other similar illnesses.

It could also stem from lifestyle such as lack of exercise and poor sleeping patterns. These things on there own are not healthy and by adding depression on top will not lead to happiness. Things like discontent at the work place, discontent at home or school, suffering from chronic stress, etc can contribute.

Partaking in illicit drugs or alcohol is oftentimes causes/triggers depression.

Depression can be a side effect of some prescription medicines.

It is known that women often suffer from depression more than men. This can be aided due to the different hormone levels a women experiences at different stages such as menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause and other similar bodily changes.

Symptoms of Depression

The Symptoms of Depression varies in itself based on the severity and develops from mild to severe mood disturbances. Such mood disturbances may range from the abrupt transient fall of enthusiasm and awareness to ominous moods and frustration or to severe chronic prostration.

During any usual depression episodes, most of the following symptoms may be experienced in milder or severity form:
  • Feeling unhappy and gloomy, Feel tired (fatigued) a lot with almost no energy
  • At times even the smallest and easiest tasks appear like hard or unattainable
  • You may not like doing things that you enjoyed doing earlier during normal phase
  • Often feeling nervousness and even dislike meeting people you love or get scared of being left alone, get irritated with social activities
  • Cannot easily and distinctly think anything, feeling like encumbered on others
  • Developing failure tendency or feel guilt of something that you have not done
  • Often getting thoughts like life is useless and die or commit suicide
  • Sense the darker future and all the ways blocked for life, losing all hopes
  • Getting irritated or annoyed just for anything, feeling as you have no confidence
  • Entering into deep thinking about what has gone wrong or what’s going to be wrong with you as a person, feel guilty for just nothing
  • Life seems to be completely unfair to you
  • Engaging in reckless behavior such as drug/alcohol abuse, gambling, dangerous sports, etc.
  • Sleeping disorders like don’t get sleep or when sleep getting up early in the morning and don’t feel like sleeping again, irrelevant dreaming for whole night
Though these may cover most of the symptoms of depression, there may be some more symptoms other than these as any explanation to that effect seldom include all the possible symptoms. The symptoms of depression widely differs from patient to patient and there is no fixed or assured declaration to this effect as yet by any medical agencies.

There are many types of depression and the symptoms for each are not the same. For example, major depression may cause you such a sense of despair and inability to function that you can’t get out of bed to go to work or even perform other functions you normally would enjoy. For some people, major depression runs in families. It can happen once in your lifetime due to some life altering event or may be a chronic health issue.

Other symptoms of a chronic depression or major depression may include things like being irritable for no reason, a change in sleep patterns, such as chronic insomnia or wanting to sleep all the time. Extreme fatigue, feeling worthless and hopeless about your life and loss of appetite are other symptoms to be aware of. For some people, they experience the inability to stay focused on tasks or make decisions, have an increased appetite, feeling empty inside and even thoughts of committing suicide.

  See also: Symptoms of Clinical Depression

Some people experience seasonal depression in the winter when there is less sunlight. Women may suffer from post-partum depression. (See also: Depression In Men and Depression in Women)

A psychotic depression can affect some causing them to have hallucinations. Depression can affect people differently and in many different ways. All symptoms of depression should be taken seriously.

  See also: Different Types of Depression and Their Symptoms

Regardless of the type or symptoms of depression, there are treatments to help you get better. Consult with professionals and do research before it is too late. Also consider natural treatments for depression.

  See also: Getting Help with Depression  

Alcohol and Depression

Though people often claim they drink "to feel good," it's widely known that alcohol is a depressant, and actually has the opposite effect on people. In fact, research has proven a direct link between alcohol and depression.

Serotonin and norepinephrine are two chemicals (neurotransmitters) that give you feelings of well-being - the medications given to fight depression works to build up these chemicals to help you feel better. Alcohol lowers the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine which makes you feel worse. Alcohol also temporarily numbs the effects of stress hormones, which also makes you feel worse after drinking.

Drinking alcohol also depletes the body's vitamins, and can lead to a folic acid deficiency. This deficiency of essential chemicals could make the brain age prematurely, as well as contribute to feelings of depression.

Drinking alcohol can also cause breaking down of antioxidants which play a role in helping to prevent several diseases. It's known that when you don't feel well physically, you don't feel well mentally or emotionally. Because of these physical and psychological changes that occur when you drink, alcohol and depression are virtually inseparable.

The first step in treating alcohol and depression is to treat the alcoholism. Since the depression is caused by the drinking, some of the depressive symptoms will go away with the alcohol. As you treat the alcoholism, the depression is also treated, helping you to get back to where you should be emotionally and physically. There are many alcoholism treatments that also have benefits for the treatment of depression.
Another option for the treatment of alcoholism and depression is neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), which is also known as hypnotherapy. This is considered an ‘alternative’ treatment, but can also be very effective for many people.

Alcoholism is a serious disease, and one that often goes untreated. Unfortunately, depression is something that people who suffer from alcoholism also deal with on a daily basis. Because of what alcohol does to the mind and body, alcohol and depression exist together, doing even more damage.

Fortunately, there is help. With all the treatments and programs available to treat alcoholism and depression together, there's no reason anyone should have to struggle with these diseases. And if you seek help, you can get back to living the happy, healthy life you deserve.

Depression Self Help

We all are predisposed to suffer from depression, but the level of tolerance and handle it is different. The capability to handle and fight depression for a person may not be the same like others. Some people never even complain in having to fight depression at all and they can manage to enjoy a happy and stress free life.

The important thing to remember is that the very nature of depression can make self-help very difficult. However, if you are going to go through the self-help route it is important that you take the following into consideration:
  • Get a good understanding of what depression is and that you grasp what form of depression you have as this will make dealing with it more effective.
  • Look after your general health and eat three meals a day at the right times whether you are hungry or not.
  • Regulate your sleeping patterns and stick to this, even if you find you can't sleep or have trouble getting up in the morning. (Maybe ask someone else to wake you)
  • Make sure you get outside early so you can take advantage of the bright light which will help regulate your sleeping patterns.
  • Keep yourself occupied at all times and don't take the time to mull over your depression or other problems you may have.
  • Break down large tasks into smaller more manageable ones, this may prove more time consuming but it will benefit you in the long run and create a less stressful approach.
  • Try to exercise regularly as research shows this can lift depression, also this will help focus you on freeing your mind of negative thoughts.
  • Take the time to release thoughts. Meditation, self-hypnosis and tai chi are good ways of creating mind calming this will greatly ease the physical effects of depression.
  • It is very important to postpone important decisions until the depression has lifted. Significant transitions like changing your job or getting married or divorced, you should discuss with someone who knows you well and can give you a more objective view of your situation.
  • Try to be with other people and confide in someone as it is usually better than being alone and coping entirely by yourself. Sufferers of depression benefit from family support and social support. Specialized groups where people with this syndrome can freely talk about how they feel are helpful. Being among people that understand the problem also prevents the problem of stigmatization that can worsen the condition.
  • Now is time to start challenging your own negative thinking, write about your negative thoughts and find a positive alternative way of thinking about this. (Try to put this into practice with all negative thoughts you have). Learn more → How to Stop Negative Thinking.
  • Understand that depression is not something that is part of you, it's created from a set of symptoms. These symptoms cause you to think, feel and act very differently to normal, but once you have the skills to beat depression, it is far less likely to re-occur in the future.

Fight Depression

Although we all hate depression, we must live with the idea that it is a normal part of our human being. Any thing is going against our nature is definitely not healthy and should be stopped immediately before it will cause any damage.

Here are top 5 ways on how to fight depression:
  • Relishing love. A depressed person may feel that he is alone and that there are many problems that he is facing. The social support is very important in the how to fight depression issue. The concerned people should know about the emotional condition of that person. So, the reassurance of the love and support and making the person feel the warmth and appreciation that he felt he had lost, will help him fight depression and improve a lot.
  • Detecting principal causes. It is very essential to determine the primary causes for the depression of a person. Once the cause is discovered, you must help the person coping with depression and convince him to benefit from therapists or physicians who will be able to give direct relief and to respond to the suffering of that person.
  • Problem-solving. It becomes undoubtedly necessary to help the person to fight depression and seek a solution, which is outside the person’s sphere of thinking. It can be step-by-step tasks to do, with clear details for each step so, how to fight depression matter will become a daily to-do job and this will give spectacular results.
  • Establishing contacts. It is recommended to give the depressed persons phone numbers of service centers such as hot-lines of psychological clinics that they can contact every time they feel down or depressed.
  • Rediscovering the joy of living. Depressed persons may have forgotten the joy of living and how beautiful things are around. As a result, “rediscovery” trips will be effective in making them realize that they have missed so many wonders.

Depression Treatment

The two most common forms of depression treatment are the use of depression medications and psychotherapy (talk therapy).

Talk therapy is useful for someone who is dealing with larger, unresolved life issues. Talk therapy is also called psycho-therapy, and no one counselor approaches it the same way. It is important to interview potential counselors to see if their approach to psycho-therapy fits your needs and beliefs.

Depression medication is an ever-evolving and often very effective tool for treating depression. There are four categories of anti-depressants, including Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). SSRIs are generally the first type of depression medication prescribed.

Some examples of SSRI antidepressants are Zoloft, Prozac, and Celexa. Often, it takes a doctor and patient several tries before they find a depression medication that best treats an individual’s specific depression symptoms.

It has to be kept in mind that about one third of people cure their depression through their first course of antidepressants. Those who did get better off their first prescription had a tendency to have a higher dosage for a longer period of time. In addition, sometimes it is necessary for a person to be on more than one depression medicine before the doctor is able to find the right “mix.” Remember, it is not uncommon for there to be a trial period with your medication.

  Explore now: How to Deal With the Depression

Depression And Suicide

Depression and suicide are often associated together. Someone who severely suffers from episodes of depression may be at risk of committing suicide. If you ever have thoughts about suicide, you should consult with a psychiatrist or therapist.

Sadly, people who commit suicide don’t want to die; they only want the pain and hurting to end. Suicide may seem to be their only option to end the pain. People who are truly suicidal may not ever mention that they are going to commit suicide. They may also not appear to be depressed. Some suicidal people do not want to give off warning signs because they do not want to be consulted.

Here are some warning signs that suicidal people may give off:-
  • Self destructive behavior – Use of drugs, alcohol and unsafe sex.
  • Sense of hopelessness – They always talk about a bleak future or that things will never change.
  • Withdrawal – They may withdraw from you.
  • Sense of calm – They may appear to be happy after they have made their decision to commit suicide.
  • Talking about suicide – If they talk about it, they are thinking about it.
Depression and suicide are serious matters. If you know anyone that is depressed and is contemplating suicide, seek immediate help.

Depression is a treatable condition and suicide is never an option. One must seek help at any cost to return to a more fuller and happier life.

Nothing in the world is more precious than life!


Feeling sad every once is in a while is normal for everyone. Life events happen which can cause one to feel depressed for a short time. However, if you are having feelings of sadness that do not go away, it is important that you consult with a doctor to get treatment. Depression is treatable and you do not have to live your life this way.

A doctor will be able to diagnose you properly and inform you about your depression treatment options. There are various methods depending specifically on the type of depression you have and your doctor will be able to determine the best course of action that will keep your life on track.

Many times depression is treated through the use of medicine such as an antidepressant, and other times therapy with a mental health professional is needed. However, studies show that when a person seeks treatment and follows the advice of their doctor, they recover from depression.

However, it is important that you understand that your “recovery” will not happen overnight. It will be necessary to follow the treatment recommended by your doctor and it may take several medication prescriptions until you find the one that best fits you.


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