5 Things You Should Know About Depression

Disclaimer: Hey there Psych2Goers, this is a disclaimer that this article is for informative purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please seek help from a qualified healthcare practitioner or mental health professional if you are struggling.

Depression is the most common diagnosed mental health condition, yet it comes with a ton of stigma. While many seem to brush it off as sadness and judge others for being “lazy,” “unmotivated,” or “moody,” what they don’t realize, is that depression is a disorder. It affects people in every area of their life and is something that needs to be treated, just like any other condition, physical or mental. To better explore depression, in this article, we’ll be taking a quick look at five things you should know about depression.

Illustration by: Sid Thompson

1. Depression Is Treatable

Depression can be treated through a variety of different methods and is different for each person. For many, attending regular therapy sessions with a licensed therapist significantly improves their quality of life. For others, they may need to take medication. In other cases, and often in tandem with medication and psychotherapy, involves lifestyle changes; making significant changes in diet, exercise, hobbies, or mediation can often lead to improvements. It is best to work with a mental health professional to find out what the best treatment option is to drastically improve your life. It is not something that simply “goes away” and can be significantly improved with proper treatment (Schimelpfening 2020a).

2. Depression Doesn’t Need a Reason

Depression can come on for any number of reasons and happen at any age. Children up through old age can develop depression for a plethora of reasons, known or unknown. For some, it develops through life events such deaths or other traumatic events. In other cases it can be caused by stress from work/home/school life. While those reasons may be easier to pinpoint, there are others that are harder to spot. Genetics play a huge role in everyone’s life and deeply affect a person’s behavior. Depression can be inherited in the same way physical ailments or personality traits can. Other factors contributing to depression can be attributed to weather, hormonal imbalances, to brain chemical imbalances. All of these can certainly overlap each other as there’s usually more than just one cause (Schimelpfening 2020a).

3. Depression Isn’t Just “Feeling Sad”

We all feel sad from time to time, and that’s perfectly normal. However, there’s a difference between “feeling sad” and having depression. Some people with depression, may not even feel sad at all! Depression shows itself in many forms, from lacking motivation, feeling apathetic, increase in irritability, etc. Depression as a condition tends to last far longer than a simple bad day. While sadness certainly may be part of depression, it comes with an array of other symptoms, both mental and physical. It often affects every part of a person’s life, making daily activities a struggle. People can feel excessively tired, have unexplained aches and pains, and lose interest in their favorite activities. Other issues can include difficulties with making decisions, brain fog, forgetfulness, along with sleeping and eating issues (WebMD 2017).

4. Depression Is a Health Issue

People with depression often have significant differences in brain structure and chemistry. Difference in levels of brain chemicals: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine are often observed. Imbalances in these neurotransmitters can be observed in a lab setting, as well as show itself in a person’s everyday life. It is often comorbid with other conditions and can, in some cases, lead to other issues, like a substance use disorder. If left untreated, it can worsen, making a person’s life a living nightmare. In cases where someone has suicidal thoughts, urges, or actions is classified as a medical emergency and requires immediate help (Schimelpfening 2020b). 

5. Depression Affects Your Life

People with depression often feel that they’re struggling in virtually every area of their life. It becomes harder to finish important tasks work or home related. It can become harder for people to go out with friends or to stay engaged in their favorite activities. For some, they may develop unhealthy coping strategies, like addictions, that only make their life harder. While the mental effects are one thing, having issues regarding sleep, unexplained aches and pains, and lack of energy is another part. Then, for others, they feel life’s too overwhelming to keep moving forward and resort to suicide or self-harm. As mentioned before, depression is a health issue and should be treated as such (HfD 2019).

With a condition that is heavily stigmatized and overlooked, it is important to know that depression is a real disorder. It often affects every area of someone’s life, and is much more than simply feeling sad. There are many treatment options available, and it often takes getting in contact with the right mental health professional to improve your life. What are some more things we should know about depression? How has it affected you? Let us know in the comments, and as always, take care.

Want to learn more about depression? We have a whole archive on the subject!

References:

  • DBSA. (2019, July 12). Depression Statistics. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/statistics/
  • Hope for Depression. (2019, September 24). Facts about Depression | Hope for Depression. www.hopefordepression.org/depression-facts/
  • NIMH. (2020, October 19). Depression in Women: 5 Things You Should Know. National Institute on Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-in-women/index.shtml
  • Schimelpfening, N. (2020a, August 20). 7 Facts Everyone Should Know About Depression. Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/depression-facts-you-should-know-1067617
  • Schimelpfening, N. (2020b, August 31). What Is the Chemistry Behind Depression? Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/the-chemistry-of-depression-1065137
  • WebMD. (2017, January 6). What People With Depression Wish You Knew. www.webmd.com/depression/features/people-depression-wish-you-knew#2

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