What is Depression?

In the next few blog posts, we will be examining Depression, its definitions, causes, and treatments.

Depression is more than just a temporary feeling of sadness or a rough patch that everyone experiences from time to time. It is a serious mental health condition that can profoundly impact every aspect of a person’s life, from their relationships and work performance, to their physical health, and overall sense of well-being. As a licensed psychotherapist, I want to shed light on what depression is, its symptoms, and the ways we can manage and treat this pervasive condition.

What is Depression?
Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities. These feelings must last for at least two weeks to be considered part of a depressive episode. Depression is not a sign of weakness, nor is it something that can be simply “snapped out of.” It is a complex interplay of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression manifests differently in everyone, but common symptoms include:

  1. Persistent Sadness or Low Mood, Feeling sad, empty, or tearful for most of the day, nearly every day.
  2. Loss of Interest or Pleasure A marked decrease in interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities.
  3. Changes in Appetite or Weight Significant weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting.
  4. Sleep Disturbances, Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping).
  5. Fatigue or Low Energy Feeling tired nearly every day, regardless of the amount of rest.
  6. Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt Excessive or inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness.
  7. Difficulty Concentrating, Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  8. Physical Symptoms, Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause.
  9. Thoughts of Death or Suicide, Recurring thoughts of death, or suicidal ideation.

In our next blog post we will examine the different types of causes of Depression.