June 17, 2020

Jem Fundano

Understanding Depression

Tragic events in your life are the reason why you get sad, numb, or lonely and it’s a natural reaction. Losing a loved one, getting fired, finding out that you cannot bear children, and other difficult situations can make you feel intense and low emotions.

Even with how sadness is a natural reaction, you need to know and understand that clinical depression is real and is a common mental illness or struggle.

Clinical depression or depressive disorder is a mental disorder that features persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, and irritability. Distinct physical or cognitive changes accompany these traits.

If you have a depressive disorder, it affects your ability to have a balanced or healthy relationship, work-life, or school-life. Here are 5 things you need to know about clinical depression:

Depression Doesn’t Just Include Sadness

One of the signs of depression isn't only about feeling extremely sad for that day, but rather, it’s about the consistent disruptive feelings you are having.  Depression doesn’t only manifest as sadness; depression can manifest as anger or irritability.

When sadness turns to depression, it can show through different moods. Activities you once found interesting, having a low focus, irritability, changes in appetite, and other physical symptoms are different symptoms of depression.

It is Caused By Different Things — Biological and Environmental

As clinical depression exhibits a wide range of feelings, it is also caused by a wide range of factors. Causes of depression may be the following:

  • The production of your hormones
  • The imbalance of chemicals in your brain
  • Seasonal changes in the environment
  • Events that you perceive as stressful and traumatic

While genetic factors — especially having someone diagnosed in your family line— increases the risk of developing depression, environmental factors play a role as well.

It Has Different Types of Depression

Depression has different forms or types. It is distinguished by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition), in 8 different types.

The different types of the depressive disorder vary in duration, mood features, demographics, and other criteria. Here are the types of depression:

  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder
  • Depressive Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition
  • Other Specified Depressive Disorder
  • Unspecified Depressive Disorder

It’s About Consistency, Not Intensity.

Consistent negative thoughts, emotions, and behavior indicate stress. Stress develops into depression or other mental disorders if you can’t cope with the problems you’re having.

The difference between depression as a mood or a mood disorder is its persistence or consistency in your life. If you have been experiencing negative feelings for more than two weeks, you can be diagnosed with clinical depression or a depressive disorder.

Depression Can Be Treated

If you find yourself feeling constantly turned up by feelings of anger, sadness, or emptiness; if you have suicidal thoughts and a family history of depression; it’s important to know that there is help and it is attainable.

Of course it’s not okay to self-diagnose if you have depression, but it’s important to be self-aware. If you’ve been asking yourself, “Am I depressed?” or “Will it always feel like this?”, it might be time to seek help from a therapist.

Overcoming depression starts with understanding yourself, knowing what depression is, and consulting a mental health professional. Through psychotherapy, taking medications, and establishing healthy changes in lifestyle, these help you in recovering from depression.

Related: Treatments for Depression

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