Symptoms Signs Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Remedies

Depression Symptoms Signs Treatment Remedies


The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Depression?.

Major depression is characterized by the inability to enjoy life and experience pleasure. The symptoms are constant, ranging from moderate to severe. Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months.

Dysthmia is a type of chronic “low-grade” depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood. The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time (at least two years).

Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as “double depression.” If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like you’ve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is “just the way you are.”

Atypical depression is a subtype of major depression or dysthymic disorder that involves several specific symptoms, including increased appetite or weight gain, sleepiness or excessive sleep, marked fatigue or weakness, moods that are strongly reactive to environmental circumstances, and feeling extremely sensitive to rejection.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in a woman after giving birth. According to the DSM IV, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, PPD is a form of major depression that has its onset within four weeks after delivery. The diagnosis of postpartum depression is based not only on the length of time between delivery and onset, but also on the severity of the depression.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterized by cycling mood changes. Episodes of depression alternate with manic episodes, which can include impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, rapid speech, and little to no sleep.

Bipolar disorder (manic depression) can be likened to clinical depression accompanied with bouts of mania (high mood) which may include harmful behaviour like unsafe sex.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is also known as winter depression. From its name, this type of depression is more of a seasonal pattern associated with winter.

Many people feel sad when summer wanes, but some actually develop depression with the season’s change. Known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), this form of depression affects about 1% to 2% of the population, particularly women and young people.

Psychotic depression is a subtype of major depression that occurs when a severe depressive illness includes some form of psychosis. The psychosis could be hallucinations (such as hearing a voice telling you that you are no good or worthless), delusions (such as, intense feelings of worthlessness, failure, or having committed a sin) or some other break with reality.

Depression Symptoms

Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.

Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.

Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.

Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).

Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.

Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.

Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.

Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.

Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

In most cases, individuals suffering from depression entertain feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and blame themselves for past failures and other things that they had no control over.

In some cases of depression, individuals recounted having contemplated death, suicide, quitting marriages, quitting jobs, as well as many other gross thoughts.

Physical problems including headaches, back pains, and fatigue.

If you are clinically depressed and also experiencing sexual problems, you're not alone. Sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction (ED) or an inability to have an orgasm, often co-exist with depression.

Depression Causes


Lack of social support.

Recent stressful life experiences.

Family history of depression.

Marital or relationship problems.

Financial strain.

Early childhood trauma or abuse.

Alcohol or drug abuse.

Unemployment or underemployment.

Health problems or chronic pain.

Studies have shown that depression is one of the complex traits passed on from one generation to another. Based on this thought, it can be concluded that individuals with a family history of depression are at a higher risk of suffering from depression. Genetics therefore remains a major contributing factor of depression cases in the world today.

Personal problems including social isolation due to a mental illness may also lead to depression.

Individuals suffering from serious illnesses that require extensive attention and resources may also be victims to depression.

Reports have also confirmed that individuals with substance abuse issues such as alcohol abuse are at higher risk of major or clinical depression.

Risk factors that may trigger depression include a history of post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, or anxiety disorder.

Additional risk factors for depression include low self-esteem, pessimism, certain medications, or chronic diseases.

In women, depression has been linked to a number of biological and hormonal factors. Such factors include premenstrual problems associated with hormonal fluctuations during their menstrual cycles. Emotional reactivity, fatigue, irritability, and bloating could all lead to depression in women.

Hormonal changes at pregnancy, miscarriages, infertility can all lead to depression in women.

During perimenopause, that stage when reproductive hormones drop, women are believed to be at a much higher risk of depression.

The main social causes that may result in depression especially in women include relationship problems and other marital issues, family responsibilities, persistent money issues, and other forms of discrimination.

The difficult changes that many older adults face, such as bereavement, loss of independence, and health problems, can lead to depression, especially in those without a strong support system.

Abuse. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause depression later in life.

Certain medications. Some drugs, such as Accutane (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase your risk of depression.

Conflict. Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.

Death or a loss. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.

Genetics. A family history of depression may increase the risk. It's thought that depression is a complex trait that may be inherited across generations, although the genetics of psychiatric disorders are not as simple or straightforward as in purely genetic diseases such as Huntington's chorea or cystic fibrosis.

Major events. Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring.

Other personal problems. Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.

Serious illnesses. Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or is a reaction to the illness.

Substance abuse. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression.

Depression Diagnosis

Diagnosis for depression helps to pinpoint the causes of the patient’s situation and to check out for any other related complications.

Diagnosis for depression combines the patient’s medical history, results of a physical examination and laboratory testing.

Your doctor is likely to perform a physical exam and seek exhaustive answers regarding your health. This is done to establish any link of your symptoms to an existing physical health issue or problem.

Your doctor may perform blood tests such as the complete blood count (CBC) or examine your thyroid to ascertain that it is properly working.

Doctors may perform urine and blood tests to eliminate other conditions with similar symptoms as those of depression. Such tests could be done to rule out cases of an underactive thyroid.

A mental health provider may ask about the patient’s symptoms, feelings, thoughts, or behaviour patterns to look out for signs of depression. This is known as psychological evaluation.

For a patient to be diagnosed with depression there is some symptom criteria to be met. The patient must have shown loss of interest or a depressed mood, among many other symptoms.

Depressed men are less likely than women to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies.

Rates of depression in women are twice as high as they are in men. This is due in part to hormonal factors, particularly when it comes to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), postpartum depression, and perimenopausal depression.

While some depressed teens appear sad, others do not. In fact, irritability, rather than depression, is frequently the predominant symptom in depressed adolescents and teens. A depressed teenager may be hostile, grumpy, or easily lose his or her temper.

Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms of depression, and so the problem often goes unrecognized.

Depression Treatment

Psychological therapies help people with depression to recover and prevent reoccurrence of the problem.

Different types of psychological therapies have been proved to be effective as treatment options for depression.

Psychotherapy is a treatment option that applies across the board, effective for children, young adults, adults, as well as older people.

In Cognitive behaviour therapy, a person with depression works with his therapist to find out behavioural patterns and other patterns of thought causing symptoms of depression.

CBT emphasizes a change in thoughts and one’s behaviour promoting a rational way of thinking when faced with common difficulties.

CBT will therefore help a person diagnosed with depression to drop his negative approach and attitude towards life’s issues and encourage him to adopt a much more realistic approach that is positive and ‘problem-solving’.

Another form of structured psychological therapy for persons with depression is interpersonal therapy (IPT) which focuses on real problems in personal relationships. This treatment approach seeks to impart problem-solving skills to individuals diagnosed with depression.

IPT helps persons with depression to identify patterns that increase their vulnerability to depression.

IPT helps improve relationships and to pass on life-coping skills (how to cope with grief) and positive ways of relating with others.

Behaviour therapy on the other hand focuses entirely on encouraging persons with depression to increase their level of activity. It encourages individuals to engage more in rewarding activities that add pleasure to their lives. Unlike CBT, behaviour therapy does not aim at changing or correcting an individual’s beliefs or attitudes.

Behaviour therapy helps fight cases of withdrawal and inactivity that may worsen the symptoms of depression.

The other form of therapy is mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) that promotes ‘mindfulness meditation'. This therapy is delivered to a group of persons diagnosed with depression and focuses on the persons’ feelings and thoughts.

MBCT is a treatment approach that helps persons with depression to focus exclusively on the incumbent moment without wandering off into other thoughts regarding the future. This makes it possible to ward off unpleasant thoughts or feelings allowing such persons to deal with signs and symptoms of depression at an earlier point in time.

Your doctor’s thorough assessment of the situation is necessary prior to using any form of antidepressant.

Key factors to be assessed and considered before a prescription of antidepressant medication is done include symptoms, age, gender, pregnancy, and other medications.

It takes about 2 weeks before a person on antidepressant medication responds to treatment. It is also important to note that that the effectiveness of the medication differs from one individual to another as well as the dosage administered.

The various classes of antidepressants available include Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Serotonin and Noradrenalin Reuptake Inhibitors, Reversible Inhibitors of MonoAmine oxidase, Tricyclic Antidepressants, Noradrenalin-Serotonin Specific Antidepressants, and many more.

Each of the classes of antidepressants is designed to work differently and poses unique side effects as well.

The period allowed for persons with depression to take antidepressant medications depends on the severity of the illness and their responsiveness to treatment.

Alternative medication for persons diagnosed with depression include herbal remedies other supplements such as St. John's wort, SAMe, and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Doctors may also suggest other mind-body techniques for persons with depression including Acupuncture, Meditation, Guided imagery, Massage therapy, Relaxation techniques, Music or art therapy, Spirituality, or exercises.

Women may also be on treatment for other conditions like eating disorders or anxiety disorders. It is for this reason that special considerations be observed for those women on simultaneous treatments.

To combat SAD, doctors suggest exercise, particularly outdoor activities during daylight hours. Exposing yourself to bright artificial light may also help. Light therapy, also called phototherapy, usually involves sitting close to a special light source that is far more intense than normal indoor light for 30 minutes every morning.

Having a strong support system will speed your recovery. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to others, even if you feel like being alone or don’t want to feel like a burden to others.

These things can help reduce depression. Cultivating supportive relationships. Getting regular exercise and sleep. Eating healthfully to naturally boost mood. Managing stress. Practicing relaxation techniques. Challenging negative thought patterns.

Talk about your feelings to someone you trust, face-to-face. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. Ask for the help and support you need. You may have retreated from your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time. If you don’t feel that you have anyone to confide in, look to build new friendships. Start by joining a support group for depression.

Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell. But being around other people will make you feel less depressed.

Get up and moving. Studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue. You don’t have to hit the gym. A 30-minute walk each day will give you a much-needed boost.

Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.

Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Sunlight can help boost your mood. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or sit out in the garden. Aim for at least 15 minutes of sunlight a day. If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.

Practice relaxation techniques. A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

If support from family and friends, positive lifestyle changes, and emotional skills building aren’t enough, seek help from a mental health professional.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were launched in the mid to late 1980s. This generation of antidepressants is now the most common class used for depression. Examples include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), vortioxetine (Brintellix), and sertraline (Zoloft). Another SSRI, Viibryd, was approved in early 2011. Side effects are generally mild, but can be bothersome in some people. They include stomach upset, sexual problems, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, weight change, and headaches.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are a newer type of antidepressant. This class includes venlafaxine (Effexor), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq and Khedezla), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and, levomilnacipran (Fetzima). Side effects include upset stomach, insomnia, sexual problems, anxiety, dizziness, and fatigue.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) were some of the first medications used to treat depression. Examples are amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil). Side effects include stomach upset, dizziness, dry mouth, changes in blood pressure, changes in blood sugar levels, and nausea.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) were among the earliest treatments for depression. The MAOIs block an enzyme, monoamine oxidase. Examples are phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate) , isocarboxazid (Marplan), and transdermal selegiline (the EMSAM skin patch). Although MAOIs work well, they're not prescribed very often because of the risk of dangerous reactions. They can cause serious interactions with other medications and certain foods. Foods that can negatively react with the MAOIs include aged cheese and aged meats.

Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Aplenzin) is different than other antidepressants is thought to affect the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. Side effects are usually mild, including upset stomach, headache, insomnia, and anxiety. Bupropion may be less likely to cause sexual side effects than other antidepressants.

Mirtazapine (Remeron) is usually taken at bedtime. Side effects are usually mild and include sleepiness, weight gain, elevated triglycerides, and dizziness.

Trazodone (Desyrel) is usually taken with food to reduce chance for stomach upset. Other side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, and blurry vision.

Depression Prevention

There is no one specific way of preventing depression; however, a number of strategies have been suggested to help prevent occurrence and reoccurrence of depression.

A healthy diet, regular exercise, taking time out for fun and relaxation, not overworking, and saving time to do things you enjoy may work together to prevent a depressed mood.

In cases of crises, individuals are advised to reach out to their families and friends to help them cope with their rough spells.

Doctors also advise that individuals, especially those at a higher risk of depression to seek treatment early in time to prevent depression or its progression.

To ward off a relapse of symptoms, a long-term maintenance treatment approach is recommended by doctors.

Depression Statistics & Facts

Depression affects people of all ages, countries, regions, or societies.

Women are more likely to suffer from depression than men. This higher incidence of cases of depression in women has been attributed to a number of factors, among them psychological, social, and biological factors.

Only 1 out of 10 prisoners in the UK has not suffered from depression.

In a single year, 14.8 million adults (about 6.7 percent of the United States population) aged 18 years and more are affected by Major depressive disorder.

Individuals diagnosed with depression are at higher risk of developing a heart attack than individuals with no history of depression.

Studies have confirmed that 1 in every 10 Americans is affected by depression at one point in his or her life; however, this varies from one state to another in the U.S.

About 60 to 80 percent cases of depression can be adequately treated with antidepressant medications and other forms of psychotherapy.

About 121 million people in the world are believed to be suffering from one form of depression or another.

States that recorded more cases of depression showed higher cases of obesity, heart diseases, stroke, and sleep disorders.

One Australian in every 16 Australians is currently suffering some form of depression.

An estimated 25 percent of cancer patients have been diagnosed with depression.

One in every 3 survivors of heart attack disease experiences depression.

Depression is one of the top 3 workplace issues today including stress and family crisis.

It has been established that depression is the main contributing cause of over two-thirds of the suicides reported annually in the U.S.

Psychotic depression affects roughly one out of every four people admitted to the hospital for depression.

Depression Symptoms Signs Treatment Remedies plus

The contents of this app are provided for educational purposes only and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. The information provided should not be considered as a substitute for the advice of a medical doctor or other healthcare professional.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental disorder that can affect individuals of any age.

Unlike grief, persons diagnosed with depression experience a persistent and constant feeling of loss and sadness. They are unable to enjoy anything and may not see anything positive regarding the future.

Depression is described by doctors based on the level of severity. One may be diagnosed with mild depression, moderate depression, or severe depression.

The impact of mild depression to one’s daily life is less compared to the other forms of depression.

Moderate depression poses a significant impact to the daily life of an individual diagnosed with it. Its impact is greater than that of mild depression.

Persons diagnosed with severe depression on the other hand face a lot of difficulties carrying on with their daily lives. Persons with severe depression may show psychotic symptoms.

Depression Symptoms

Symptoms of depression affect an individual’s feelings, behaviour, thoughts, and physical manifestation.

Persons who suffer depression show feelings of sadness, unhappiness, emptiness, angry outbursts, irritability, and frustrations over petty issues.

Sometimes the depressed person shows lack of interest in normal activities, and fails to find pleasure in what others find immense pleasure.

A number of people diagnosed with depression showed lack of appetite and weight loss was also reported.

Other symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, and inability to concentrate or complete a task.

Depression Causes

Various forms of abuse including past sexual, physical, or emotional abuse could be the cause for depression in the later life of an individual.

Certain medications including Accutane which is used as a treatment for acne can heighten an individual’s risk of depression. Other known drugs capable of compounding the risk depression are corticosteroids and interferon-alpha.

A number of cases of depression have been linked to individual conflicts and disputes involving friends and family members. Such personal conflicts are a major cause of depression especially for persons who are biologically vulnerable to depression.

Sadness or any other form of grief associated with loss of a family member, friend, or any other relative is known to increase the risk of depression.

Divorcing, marrying the love of your life, changing jobs, travelling, losing a job, getting a job, retiring, and any other major event in one’s life could lead to depression.

Depression Treatment

The most prominent treatment approaches for depression include antidepressant therapy, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. However, women are accorded special treatment considerations because of the biological differences between men and women.

Psychological treatments (talking therapies) turns around the negative thinking patterns of people diagnosed with depression. This form of treatment aims at improving an individual’s capacity to cope and deal with conflicts and other forms of life’s stresses.

Cognitive behaviour therapy, often known as CBT, helps recognise an individual’s way of thinking (also known as cognition) and how he or she acts (behaviour) and how the two impact one’s feelings.

Antidepressant medication is considered the main medical treatment for persons diagnosed with depression. It is a common treatment option where other forms of treatment have failed or where the severity of the illness is beyond psychological treatment.

Severe forms of depression such as psychosis and bipolar disorder are generally treated with medication. Such medication employs a combination of antidepressants, anti-psychotic drugs, and mood stabilisers.

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