What exactly is depression? We all feel a little off from time to time. For some people, however, this gloomy feeling is very intense and lingers for a long time. In that case we speak of a depression.
It is worth looking for help if you suffer from depression. There are various treatment options that speed up recovery. In this article we will tell you what depression is, and what causes it.
What exactly is Depression?
Depression is a psychological condition that is relatively common. About 20% of people experience depression at some point in their lives.
Although depression can occur at any time in your life, it often starts between the age of eighteen and twenty years old. Women generally suffer more from depression than men.
We often think of depression as gloomy feelings, but there are many other symptoms.
Think for example of lethargy, insomnia and loss of concentration. These symptoms are often so severe that they harm your daily functioning.
A depression is well treatable and there are many different ways to treat a depression. Research has shown that conversational therapy, medication and running therapy can all help to treat depression.
It is important to note that a depression is something other than grief or feelings of mourning. Everyone has to deal with negative feelings in their life and there is nothing wrong with that in itself. Only when these feelings are very intense and persist for a very long time with no obvious reason, we talk about a depression.
Although you can take steps to work on your depression, you don’t fully control it yourself. It is wise to try therapy and medication. However, you are not responsible for your depression. So don’t feel guilty if it takes a while before your depression starts to get better.
Symptomps of Depression
Within psychology we try to define the different symptomps as well as possible. This way we know for sure that every psychologist has the same opinion. These definitions are described in the DSM V.
Below I describe the definition of depression disorder according to the DSM.
1. You are suffering from five of the symptomps listed below (more is also possible):
In any case:
- A depressed mood or loss of interest
- You either lose weight or gain weight without wanting to.
- Being very sleepy or not being able to sleep.
- Feeling rushed or very sleepy. So bad that others can see it in you.
- Being tired and having little energy.
- Having low self-confidence, feeling worthless.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Suicidal thoughts.
2. These symptomps cause you to perform poorly at work and in your personal life.
3. The complaints are not caused by the use of drugs or by a physical condition. It is also important that you have not experienced something terrible that explains your depressed feelings. Think of a death, firing or a severe illness.
4. There is no other psychological disorder that explains the complaints
5. There was no manic period before you felt depressed (a period in which you were very happy, cheerful and energetic).
It is very difficult to diagnose depression yourself. Based on the information above and the Depression quiz you will find, you can at most decide to seek help from a psychologist. He or she will make the final diagnosis before starting treatment.
Types of depression
When we talk about depression, we usually think depressive disorder as we described above. However, there are other forms of depression. Here are some of them:
Dysthymic disorder: With this disorder you have less severe symptoms, but they last longer. We speak of a dysthyme disorder when you suffer from depressive symptoms for more than two years.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: This disorder involves very violent mood swings prior to menstruation.
Mood disorder caused by drugs: Drinking a few beers every night can already have a huge impact on your mood. Depressive complaints can be caused by alcohol, drugs and (wrong) medication.
Seasonal depression: many people have already heard of winter depression, but summer depressions also exist. The turn of the seasons causes depressive symptoms.
Postpartum depression: some mothers suffer from depression after the birth of their child. This proves once again how great the effects of our biology is on our state of mind.
Manic depression: this condition is nowadays called bipolar mood disorder and has its own chapter in the DSM. It means that you are depressed from time to time and that period alternates with weeks or months when you are very positive. That positive period is often so exaggeratedly positive that you do all kinds of reckless things. The manic periods are also often seen as unpleasant by people with a bipolar disorder.
Causes of depression
Why people get depression is not fully understood by science. Likewise, it is not entirely clear why the most commonly used medication against depression work. However, we do have some clues.
Heredity: research clearly shows that depression is hereditary. If one of your parents, brothers or sisters has had a depression, you have a higher chance.
Previous depression: if you have suffered from depression before, you are more likely to become depressed again. That is why more and more research is being done into maintenance treatments, such as mindfulness meditation.
Problems: financial problems, neighbourly quarrels, bullying at work. These are just a few examples of problems that can lead to depression. Especially when these problems accumulate you run an increased risk of becoming depressed.
Trauma: if you have experienced a traumatic event, there is a chance that you will suffer from depression. Think of abuse, an accident or a loss.
Stress: it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a depression from a burnout. Both complaints are so similar that it goes without saying that stress increases your risk of depression.
Poor health: if you don’t exercise, eat unhealthy foods, smoke and drink alcohol, you run a higher risk of depression than if you live a healthy life.
In general, it is not very useful to keep looking for the cause of your depression for a long time. In general, there are several factors that caused the depression and it is therefore difficult to pinpoint a single culprit. It is much more interesting to look at what you can do to recover from your depression.
Do you feel like you need more help? We are more than happy to try and help
you out on your mental health journey.
For more info on psychology and psychiatry we recommend the American
Psychiatric Association (APA), visit them here!
We wish you the best!