What’s Depression? All you must know about this illness

  • Sol Rivero

Recently, the gloomy news about Robin William’s passing surprised the world, and soon information surfaced about how the actor suffered from depression. Unfortunately, as many as 350 million people in the world suffer from depression according to the World Health Organization, and most people have little knowledge about what this disease entitles.

To help you out, we answer the question what’s Depression?, and tell you all you must know about the illness.


What’s Depression?

Depression is a mental disorder in which an individual experiences several emotional and even physical impairments which keep him or her from enjoying life. Some of the symptoms of depression are deep feelings of sadness, loss of interest in life and activities which were once considered pleasurable, and a sensation of self-worthlessness.

Depression can also affect the person’s body and ability to engage in simple activities, leading to poor appetite, problems sleeping, physical pains, and even poor concentration.

This illness can appear on an individual of any age due to different circumstances: a life-changing event, trauma, unresolved past experiences, an unsatisfactory present situation, or even as a symptom of other diseases. However, it can also have no identifiable catalyst, which can make it difficult to understand to friends and family members.

There are also different types of depression:

  • Mild depression: it has a negative effect on your daily life, but can be treated with medication and therapy.
  • Chronic depression: itpresents long-term depressed moods, and doesn’t disable the person. It can also be treated with medication or talking therapy.
  • Major depression: it presents physical and emotional symptoms which interfere with the subject’s daily activities, and it tends to be recurrent. Episodes of major depression can lead to self-harm or demand hospitalization.

Other common types of depression are Post-natal Depression, which occurs in women after giving birth; Seasonal Affective Depression, which is linked to considerable changes in the weather which affect the person’s mood; and Bi-Polar Disorder, which occurs when a person has extreme mood swings from excessive elation to deep sadness.



What to do if I or someone close to me is having Depression?

If you present some or all symptoms of a depressive disorder, it’s vital to get help. Relate your symptoms to a medic, or visit a mental health therapist. An expert will most likely ask you questions about what you feel and how it’s affecting your body and mind, and later on you’ll decide together which will be the best method to treat it.

If you’re not suffering from depression, but someone close to you is, it can be difficult to deal with their apparently sudden and odd behaviors. Some of the things you can do are:

  • Reading about depression as much as you can.
  • Offering, but not imposing, your company and support.
  • Avoid criticism and comparisons.
  • Be extremely patient.
  • Don’t push or get angry at a depressed person.
  • Avoid being condescending or diminishing the person’s feelings.
  • Make small gestures of love and care.
  • Pay attention to sudden changes in mood or mentions about self-harm.

Depression is a real affliction, and it can be hard to understand and live with, so support and encouragement from the person’s inner circle is vital for overcoming it.


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Mental Health Foundation. Depression. http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/depression/

Psych Central. 9 best ways to support someone with depression. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/05/08/9-best-ways-to-support-someone-with-depression/

WebMD. Depression Health Center. http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-types

World Health Organization. Depression. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/