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Understanding Depression: Forms, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Feb 12, 2023 | 0 comments

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Feb 12, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Perhaps the depression is the most prevalent of the emotional disorders. Depression varies from feelings of dejection to slight sadness and utter misery. Besides, it brings together a variety of psychological and physical symptoms that together constitutes a syndrome. Indeed, depression is the most spiteful event an individual can undergo. It is much more difficult to cope with depression that physical ailment. Globally, there is a growing complexity of modern life that has resulted in health crisis and as psychological strain and stress in day to day living that has significantly contributed to the rise of depression disorder. Depression also results from conditions of drudgery and monotony of a daily routine, without a meaningful life variation. Extreme cases of depression often result in suicidal thoughts from the victim. Most patients with depression may feel that nothing can help their situation. However, this is often untrue as numerous patients recover from bouts of depression, besides, some look back at it as a significant experience that compelled them to take a stock of their lives and make lifestyle changes. This essay provides a robust understating of depression from symptoms, treatment approaches, and forms of depression, causes, and prevention methods as well as recommendations for helping oneself, family and friends.

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Different Forms of Depression

Most individuals with depression never seek medical intervention as many may not be aware that they are depressed. As such, many people confuse depression with sadness, yet depression is more than passing a bout of sadness. Sadness, according to Craig and Harvard Health Publications (2013, p. 9), touches all of our lives at various levels; however, depression brings an enormous depth and staying power. Thus, depression is more than passing a bout of dejection. Depression comes in numerous forms and shapes. The different types of depression present unique causes, symptoms, and effects.

 Major Depression

This is often characterized by the inability of an individual to enjoy life and experiences pleasure. Symptoms of major depression are often constant ranging from moderate to severe. When it is left untreated, it may last for six months and can lead to serious impairment in daily life functioning and suicide in extreme cases. Some individuals may feel one episode of depression in their lifetime, however, in most instances, major depression is often recurrent. Major depression may be disabling in terms of loss of work productivity and time spent in bed similar to other chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also known as clinical depression, it involves a combination of various symptoms. Essentially, it leads to poor concentration, sadness, fatigue, excessive guilt, appetite disturbances, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts.

Dysthymia (Mild, Recurrent Depression)

According to Wasserman (2011, p. 112) dysthymia is a type of chronic low-grade depression. In most cases, an individual may feel mildly depressed and brief periods of normal mood. While the symptoms of dysthymia are not stronger than that of major depression, they often last longer, for instance, two years. The chronic symptoms of dysthymia make it challenging to live life to the fullest. Besides, some individuals experienced major depressive episodes in addition to dysthymia, a condition referred to as double depression (Duckworth & Richard 2012, p. 4). Individuals suffering from dysthymia feel constant depression or may assume that the continuous low mood is natural. However, dysthymia is treatable even if the symptoms have gone untreated or unrecognized for years.

Bipolar Disorder

The condition, also referred to as manic depression, is characterized by cycling mood alterations. According to Wasserman (2011, p. 112), episodes of depression changes with manic episodes and may include hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, rapid speech, and little or no sleep. Usually, the change from one mood to another is gradual, with each depressive episode lasting for several weeks. An individual suffering from bipolar disorder exhibits the usual symptoms of major depression. However, the treatment of these two forms of depression is dissimilar.

Causes of Depression

The scientific research understanding provide that depression has numerous causes. Thus, it arises from myriad factors that sometimes occur simultaneously. An individual’s sex, age, genetic inheritance, brain chemistry imbalance, substance abuse, hormone changes and any other illnesses all significantly contribute to the development of depression, according to Wasserman (2011, p. 113). Depression may also occur spontaneously and unassociated with any crisis in life. Mood disorders and suicides predominantly run in families. In a case of genetic inheritance, for instance with identical twins, research, however, shows, that only 30 percent cases have twins developed depression genetically. While it has been established that biologically inherited depression development is associated with younger age of onset, new onset of depression occurring after age 60 may less likely to result from genetic predisposition. Likewise, life factors and events, whether inherited, the genetic tendency to develop depression will automatically lead to a major depression episode (Wasserman (2011, p. 112-113).
Bestowing to National Institute on Aging (2008, p. 8) certain life aspects such as financial standing and marital status may also lead to depression. While depression is predominant among homeless individuals, it is believed that depression strongly influences any individual that becomes homeless. Long lasting stressors like difficult marriage and unemployment plays a significant role in developing depression than sudden stressors such as receiving bad news. Traumatizing events may contribute to a general state of stress as well as alter brain functioning. Traumatic experiences that comes early in life, in particular, has been validated to lead to long-term brain functioning alterations that affects brains response to stresses and fears in the future (Duckworth & Richard 2012, p. 7). Indeed, this may be consolidating reason accounting for greater lifetime major depression incidences in individuals with a history of significant childhood trauma. Other factors linked to depression incorporate medical illness, sleep disturbances, anxiety, chronic pain, alcoholism, attention-deficit disorder or drug abuse.


Usually, it is very challenging to diagnose depression clinically. According to, Battenhausen (2011, p. 49). the most striking depression symptoms ranges from feeling of an acute sense of loss to unexplained sadness, loss of interest and loss of energy. Depression patients often feel tied and show a lack of interest in the surrounding environment. Also, frequent sleep disturbances with disturbed sleep patterns and difficulty of getting off to sleep at night, repeated night wake ups and nightmares. Patients with depression may suffer from guilty, self-absorption and oppressive feelings. Other depression symptoms are giddiness, agitation, impotence, nausea, constipation, pains, aches, itching, lack of decision power, lack of concentration among others. Battenhausen further notes that cases of severe depression may be characterized by low blood pressure, low body temperature, shivering, and hot flushes. According to him, the external manifestations represent a cry for help from an individual with tormented mind.


While depression may be a devastating illness, according to Bagaria, Holland and Reenen (2012, p. 78) it often responds to treatment. The secret is to achieve a particular evaluation and treatment plan. Currently, there are numerous treatment options for depression. For instance, there are electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), psychotherapy and medications. Besides, the new treatment known as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation has been validated by Federal internet also promotes establishment of illegal pharmacies that may be dealing in unapproved or recalled drugs. Besides, online Drug Authority (FDA) for persons who have not responded well to one trial of an antidepressant. People with seasonal depression episodes may find light therapy significant. However, for other people, managing alternative illness through alternative therapies such as acupuncture, nutrition, and medication is useful.


Serious depression often responds effectively to medication, yet individuals with patterns of ailments have to learn how to cope. Psychotherapy or taking medicines prescribed by a physician are the popular methods of medication. Likewise, aerobic exercise, supportive relationships, education, and attention to co-occurring conditions are also beneficial in supporting recovery. Antidepressant medications may take between 2-4 weeks to demonstrate a significant effect and between 6-12 weeks to have their full effect (Bagaria, Holland and Reenen 2012, p. 79). In some cases, the patient may try different doses and antidepressants before narrowing to one or the combination that is most effective. Some of the antidepressants include selective serotin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and Bupropin are some of the popular antidepressant medications.


Different types of psychotherapy have been demonstrated to help depression patients effectively. These, Duckworth and Richard (2012, p. 8-9) mentions, include interpersonal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Treatment may last between 10-12 weeks with research supporting moderate depression to be treated successfully with psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) assist in changing behavior associated with depression and negative thinking while educating people how to unlearn the patterns leading to depression illness (Duckworth & Richard 2012, p. 8-9). CBT primarily functions to recognize and eliminate negative thoughts. Interpersonal therapy (IPT), however, focuses on improving personal relationships that may lead to depression. The psychotherapist educates people to evaluate their interactions with others and recognize their difficulties and self-isolation getting along with, relating and understanding others (Duckworth & Richard 2012, p. 8-9). Lastly, psychodynamic psychotherapy that is more available yet recommended due to lack of data relating to its effectiveness.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

This treatment approach is a highly effective for patients with severe depression. In case the psychotherapy and medication are not effective for treating severe symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts, ECT may be effective. For some individuals, a combination of ECT and antidepressants may work relatively well. In fact, memory problems follow ECT treatment; however, a careful risk assessment is necessary to effective intervention. The widely used ECT treatments are repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and complementary and alternative medicine (Duckworth & Richard, 2012).

Aerobic Exercise

Literature based on research validations now support aerobic exercise to aid effectively in treating mild depression. A study by Craig and Harvard Health Publications (2013, p. 13) shows that aerobics exercise alone treated mildly to moderate depressive symptoms on adults. Exercise, according to research, enhances the action of endorphins and thus reduces the perception of pain and improves mood. Besides, exercise stimulates neurotransmitter norepinephrine that improves mood directly.

Previous Research on Depression

Research shows that the annual cost of depression in United States alone amounts to $80 billion due to illness care and loss of productivity (World Health Organization 2009, p. 26). Research indicates that more than one-half of individuals perishing out of suicide are experiencing depression. It is established that depression is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (World Health Organization 2009, p. 26). Data provided by World Health Organization, indicates that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Besides, it represents a global health challenge. Also, it’s the 4th contributor to the global burden of disease and research projects the by 2020, and it will be the second leading cause. Likewise, each year, depression affects between 5-8 percent of adults globally, thus around 25 million of adults experiences episodes of major depression every year. Depression, according to WHO, occurs 70 percent more frequently in women than men for unclear reasons, however.

Coping Strategies

Embracing a balanced lifestyle assists in making a life for depression more manageable. There are numerous strategies that are suggested to help in coping with depression. Firstly, becoming an expert in terms of reaching informational sources of depression is significant. The internet has enabled robust sharing of information and keeping network with people and reaching current research can make one cope effectively. Also, recognizing the symptoms development pattern is key. Individual identification of certain triggers and times of the year can help one seek aggressive intervention and prevent worsening situations. Thirdly, developing a wide support group is an important phase of recovery. Sharing thoughts and taking various activities with support groups and education programs promotes effective coping strategy with depression. Most importantly, engaging in treatment from healthcare personnel is fundamental to effective management of major depression. Health providers provide important information that are all important for managing depression.
Friends and quality of life. Arthur should be educated during the discussion with the doctor and also his Family
Caregivers form an important part of our lives, and they can provide many actions to help their loved ones cope with depression. Essentially, families and friends offers emotional support, listening carefully and talking to their loved ones based on the patient’s experiences is key. Caregivers have the opportunity to support and talk to people to understand the situation and provide necessary intervention. While it is common to families and the patient to experience grief due to drastic changes, support may help reduce the chances of re-inducing previous trauma. Moreover, persons suffering from mental illness must have their families working collaboratively and discuss previous episodes to demonstrate a clear recognition f the early signs of developing depression episode.


Nearly everyone experiences episodes of sadness from time to time. However, depression is validated to last longer. Depression may occur in individuals with serious medical illnesses such as stroke, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. Also, depression is more prevalent in women than men. While life cycle, biological, and psychological factors have been suggested to be linked to women’s higher depression, it is still unclear. On the contrary, men experience depression through feelings of sadness, excessive guilt, and worthiness. Teens and children may develop depression and experience episodes as they enter their adulthood stage. Therefore, it is true nearly everyone may experience depression episodes in their lifetime. As such, it is important to adhere to the preventive lifestyle rather than medication to live a healthy lifestyle. Essentially, taking part in aerobic exercise, reading on recent research and creating robust support network is fundamental to living depression-free life.


Bagaria, N., Holland, D., & Reenen, J. V. (2012). Fiscal consolidation during a depression. National Institute Economic Review. 2012, F42-F54.

Battenhausen, L. J. (2011). Defeating depression: the calm and sense way to find happiness and satisfaction. Far Hills, NJ, New Horizon Press.

Craig M. & Harvard Health Publications. (2013). Understanding depression. A Harvard Medical School Special Health Report.

Duckworth, K. & Richard S. (2012). Depression. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from www.nami.org/helpline/UnderstandingMajorDepression.pdf

National Institute On Aging. (2008). Depression. [Gaithersburg, Md.], National Institute on Aging, National Institute of Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. http://purl.access.gpo.gov/GPO/LPS110990.

Wasserman, D. (2011). Depression. Oxford, Oxford University Press. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=467673.

World Health Organization. (2009). Mental health aspects of women’s reproductive health: a global review of the literature. Geneva, World Health Organization.

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