According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 million people are affected by depression, globally. This is a serious issue. Depression symptoms are dangerous. It’s more than simply feeling sad or fed up. Social media also could have some effect on how we perceive ourselves and on our mental health in general (more on this topic here).

Read on to find out about what causes depression and what are the different types of it, as well as how it is different to anxiety.

What is depression?

Depression is a serious medical illness. People with depression often have feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. If untreated, it can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. Depression negatively affects how you feel. It also impacts the way you think and how you act.

What are the common depression symptoms?

Depression and anxiety – do you have a problem? Discover the symptoms and find out when to be alarmed.
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  1. Feelings of sadness, emptiness, and helplessness. – it seems that nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  2. Loss of interest in daily activities. You no longer care about your hobbies, social activities, or sex. You don’t feel joy or pleasure any longer.
  3. Appetite and/or weight changes. Your experience significant weight changes (either weight loss or weight gain) but you are not dieting.
  4. Sleep changes. You can’t fall asleep, you wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes sleeping too much could also be the symptom.
  5. Loss of energy. You constantly feel tired, fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained.
  6. Feeling worthless. You have strong feelings of guilt. You criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  7. Reckless behavior. You engage in behavior that help you escape, such as substance abuse, gambling, reckless driving.
  8. Concentration problems. You have trouble focusing, thinking, making decisions, or remembering things.
  9. Unexplained aches and pains. You complain about headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
  10. Thoughts of death or suicide. Thoughts of taking your own life have crossed your mind.

For a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, a person needs to have experienced five or more of these symptoms for at least two weeks.

What is not a depression?

Being under the weather or sad is not the same as having depression. Sadness disappears after some time, whereas depression is a long-term mental illness.

Depression is much different from the different moods we as people experience as a part of normal life. If your life gets tough and you feeling down, drained or sad, it might be just a temporary emotional response to the challenging situation. As long as after a while, your mood gets better and you are starting to see the brighter side to live again, you ok.

Are there different types of depression?

Yes. For example, unipolar depression is when the predominant feature is a depressed mood. Bipolar depression on the other side also includes manic episodes. There is also major depressive disorder with psychotic features, which include delusion and hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there).

Another form of depression is a postpartum depression, which is something much more severe than simple ‘baby blues’. Women (and even sometimes men) can experience it shortly after the new baby is born.

Last but not least there could be SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This is the type of depression usually appearing in fall/winter season. It’s believed it has something to do with the lack of natural light during that period. Depression symptoms often seem to improve once spring and summer are coming.

What is the treatment for depression?

Depression and anxiety – do you have a problem? Discover the symptoms and find out when to be alarmed.
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You can and very much should treat depression. It is probably one of the most treatable of mental disorders. Almost 90 percent of people eventually respond well to treatment.

There are different approaches for the management of depression:

  1. Psychotherapy -Psychological or talking therapies for depression (e.i. cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)).
  2. Drug treatment, specifically antidepressants. Such drugs are available on a prescription from your doctor.

How is depression symptoms different from anxiety?

Depression and anxiety – do you have a problem? Discover the symptoms and find out when to be alarmed.
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Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder are a bit different from depression symptoms and include:

  • excessive worry
  • restlessness
  • being easily fatigued
  • trouble concentrating
  • irritability
  • sleep disturbance
  • muscle tension.

You might be diagnosed with anxiety if you’ve experienced these symptoms most days for more than six months.

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