Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

It’s one of the most common mental disorders today. It affects two to three million people each year. And it has the highest suicide rate of any other mental disorder. Depression is an illness that can occur at any age and in either sex, but it usually starts to develop in late adolescence or early adulthood. Overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness are not normal emotions for everyone, nor are they expected to last long periods of time – that’s when it becomes a problem.

High functioning depression symptoms

Symptoms of depression can include feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, lack of concentration, fatigue, and hopelessness. Sometimes people feel that life isn’t worth living or that they have nothing left to live for. A person with depression may be so overcome by negative thoughts and feelings that he begins to isolate himself from friends and family. However, it’s important to understand that these symptoms can be related to other medical conditions such as heart disease or thyroid problems. Left untreated, depression can severely reduce your ability to function at work or school and can lead to alcohol and drug abuse and even suicide attempts. Up to 10% of people who commit suicide have an undiagnosed depressive illness.

Men and women experience depression differently.

Depression in men and women is very different. Women tend to become more depressed than men after a stressful event or particular loss. They also tend to have more symptoms such as guilt, anxiety, and insomnia than men. Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression after the birth of a child, but postpartum depression is not gender-specific. Men who suffer from depression may experience symptoms such as increased irritability and anger, physical pain, and loss of interest in work or hobbies. This may be because men generally find it harder to communicate their feelings than women. They also seem to be more resilient when coping with stress than women, so their condition may not be so apparent for so long.

Who is at risk for developing depression?

Anyone can develop depression, but here are some common factors that increase the risk of developing the disorder:

Family History. If one of your parents has had depression, you are more likely to suffer from it than if neither parent had the illness. Genetic factors may be at work in bipolar disorder. Depressive disorders also run in families. The people in your genetic family tree who suffered from depression may give you clues about what kind of treatment might work well for you. If people in your family responded to Lithium or anti-depressant medication, this might suggest an effective treatment option for you.

Your Environment and Life Experiences. Divorce, unemployment, the death of a friend or loved one, as well as long periods of stress, can all contribute to depression. Psychological stress seems to be a trigger for some people.

Symptoms of depression over the years

Depression is a complex disorder. The symptoms of depression aren’t always consistent. Sometimes people will show only one symptom. Other times, they’ll show many. The symptoms may appear slowly or rapidly to peak then taper off, or they might slowly build over time.

The symptoms of depression usually fall into these two categories:

Mood Symptoms: Often present with the cognitive symptoms are mood symptoms. People with depression often feel sad, anxious, weepy, hopeless, and worthless. They may also become irritable and experience difficulty sleeping or eating.

Physical Symptoms: Other physical symptoms can be associated with depression, including headaches, digestive problems, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating or concentrating well enough to do certain things. Physical symptoms can sometimes precede the onset of depressive moods by months to years, so they can be difficult to detect early on.

st depression Causes

No one knows the exact cause of depression, but several factors appear to influence a person’s likelihood of developing depression. These include:

Mood disorders such as depression run in families. If you have a close family member who experienced the condition, then you might be at risk as well. There is also an increased likelihood that those with first-degree relatives who’ve experienced major depressive disorder will experience it as well. Having a close relative such as a parent or sibling with bipolar disorder can also increase your risk.


Whether you experience a lot of stress in your life is a factor here. Some researchers believe this can make you vulnerable to developing depression if you have a particular type of small neurochemical defect that makes the brain more sensitive to stress and, therefore, more likely to become depressed when stressed out. Some stresses can be external, while some can be internal. External stresses might include a major life change, a death of a loved one, or even a natural disaster. Internal stresses might include:

  • An unhealthy lifestyle.
  • A lack of coping skills.
  • An inability to deal with life’s everyday problems.


If you experience trauma, this can make you vulnerable to developing anxiety or depression. Research has shown that people who experience significant trauma are more likely to develop mood disorders. Trauma can take many forms, including trauma experienced during childhood, sexual assault, or even witnessing a traumatic event as an adult.

Biological Factors

Some diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease can make you prone to depression. Another medical condition called major depressive disorder can make you vulnerable to developing depression if you have the right genetic makeup.

Prevention of depression

Depression is a serious illness that can be difficult to survive, but there are several things people with depression can do to help prevent it from taking over your life. Some treatments for depression are quite effective at preventing relapse of symptoms, but these treatments also carry some side effects that some people find difficult to deal with. Some of the steps you can take to help prevent depression include:


This has been shown to reduce anxiety and improve mood. If you’re at risk for developing depression, exercise is something that may help prevent it from occurring.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can lead to better mental health because it helps regulate your brain chemistry. An unhealthy diet can lead to chemical imbalances, which are thought to trigger anxiety or depression in some people.

Stress Management

Managing stress is important for prevention because stress can trigger anxiety and depression. If you have had a history of depression, this is something you should consider learning how to do effectively. You may want to learn more about stress management techniques or even get professional help with stress management if needed.

Support Networks

Support is important for prevention for anyone, but it can make a big difference for people who are at risk of developing depression. Try to find support groups in your area, look online or meet with other people who are at risk.


There are several types of medication that have been shown to be helpful in preventing depression from occurring or from becoming worse. If you have a previous history of depression, this may be something to discuss with your doctor.


If you know that stress can trigger anxiety and depression, it is important to take care of yourself so that stress doesn’t get the best of you. This might include practicing good sleep hygiene and learning how to deal with daily stressors more effectively, so they don’t overwhelm you and cause problems.

Vitamin D

Some research has shown that low vitamin D levels are associated with depression. However, this is something that still isn’t fully understood. If you think your vitamin D levels might be low, have your doctor check this for you.


It is important to get regular sleep so that you can feel better emotionally and mentally. If you are having trouble sleeping, there are remedies that may help you fall asleep.

Social Connections

Having social connections provides support when things get stressful, which can make it easier to cope with challenges or stressful situations in your life. However, some people find this to be overwhelming, and they don’t want or need a social network. If you know that a social network is something that isn’t going to work for you, try finding another way of coping with stress.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, just making a few lifestyle changes can have a big impact on how you feel. For example, not spending as much time around negativity can be helpful. If you know that a friend or family member is a negative influence, it may help to spend less time with them or to limit your interaction with them.

How to Deal With crippling Depression

It is important to seek treatment if you are experiencing depression. In some cases, it may help to start with self-help strategies first and then consult with either a medical professional or a therapist if needed. Most people benefit from working with both a medical professional and a therapist during treatment for depression.

Many people benefit from using a combination of self-help strategies along with professional help. If you have been diagnosed with depression, the first step is usually to start treatment with a doctor.

If your depression is severe or does not respond well to medical treatment or therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option. ECT involves putting electrodes on the head and passing an electrical impulse through certain areas of the brain. It has been used as a successful treatment for severe depression that hasn’t responded to other treatments, and it can help about two-thirds of people who use it.

When to Consider Hospitalization

If you are having thoughts of suicide, it is important to seek help immediately. If you are having suicidal thoughts, it is always best to talk to someone, but you can also call for help if you are in immediate danger. Those who are at the highest risk of suicide should consider seeking immediate help through their local emergency department.

If there is a risk of suicide or harm to others, do not attempt to intervene or stop the person from attempting suicide. Instead, place them in protective custody right away in an environment where they feel safe and in control. If you feel that someone is threatening or attempting harm to themselves or others, seek safety yourself and notify authorities right away.

Most people who are diagnosed with depression will be able to find a treatment that works for them. It is important to seek treatment and communicate with a medical professional if you think you might have depression or anxiety.

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