Depression is much more than simple unhappiness or a case of the blues. It is a mood disorder that involves the mind and body, affects how you feel, think and behave. Depression is a common condition that can affect people at various stages throughout their lives. It’s neither something you can simply "snap out" of nor a weakness.
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptoms of depression are feelings of sadness or unhappiness that are present most days and continue throughout the day. Such feelings last for more than two weeks and impair a person’s performance at work, at school or in social relationships.
- Irritability or frustration
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite
- Fatigue and loss of energy
- Feelings of helplessness or worthlessness
- Loss of interest in sex
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Suicidal thoughts
- Crying spells for no apparent reason
- Agitation or restlessness
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
Causes / Physiology
Several factors may play a part in the onset of depression, including a genetic or family history of depression, psychological or emotional vulnerability to depression. Biological factors – such as imbalances in brain chemistry and in the endocrine/immune systems – or a major stress in the person's life, (for example the traumatic loss of a loved one) may also play a role in the onset of depression.
Depression typically requires long-term treatment. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counselling or other treatment.