Depression... what is it ?
Depression can be described as a mood disorder. In clinical terms, the word depression or Major depression differs from every day 'feeling down' in life, in three main ways;
1) The intensity of the feeling,
2) The continuous feeling after a two week period
3) The hindering of someone’s daily functioning.
Often people experience depression in different ways. For some, it gets in the way of their daily work routine causing them to be less productive and for other people, it can have an impact on relationships and result in chronic health conditions.
Major depression can cause a number of symptoms, affecting a person’s mood or physical body. Symptoms are sometimes on-going and can come and go; the symptoms of depression are often experienced very differently among men and women:
Symptoms experienced by men may relate to their:
- Mood, i.e. feeling angry, aggressive, irritable, anxious and restless
- Emotional well-being, i.e. feeling sad, hopeless or emptiness
- Behaviour, i.e. loss of interest and pleasure in favourite activities, lethargic, suicidal thoughts, excessive drinking, drugs usage,
engaging in high-risk activities
- Sexual interest, i.e. lack of sexual desire or performance
- Cognitive abilities i.e. not able to concentrate so well, inability to complete tasks, delayed responses during conversations
- Sleep patterns, i.e. restless sleep, excessive sleep, insomnia
- Physical well-being, i.e. fatigue, pains, headaches, digestive problems.
Symptoms experienced by women may relate to their:
- Mood, i.e. feeling irritability
- Emotional well-being, - feeling sad, anxious, hopeless or emptiness
- Behaviour, - loss of interest in activities, not wanting to socialise, suicidal thoughts
- Cognitive abilities, i.e. slower in their thinking and talking
- Sleep patterns, i.e. broken sleep, oversleeping
- Physical well-being, i.e. lower energy levels, fatigue, changes in their appetite, weight changes, aches, pains, headaches, increased cramps.
Common causes of depression:
- Family history. There is a higher risk of developing depression if there is a history of depression in the family
- Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events can cause a person’s body to fear any stressful situations
- Medical conditions. particular conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention deficit
- Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can affect your risk of depression.
- Low self-esteem or being self-critical
- Personal history of mental illness
- Particular medications
- Life events, such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or a divorce.
Source: Valencia Higuera and Kimberly Holland — Updated on February 11, 2020,
Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/depression [Accessed 18/09/20].
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