Depression Symptoms, Warning Signs, Causes, and Treatment

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Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health. It seems to be more common among women than men.

Depression is not simply the result of a ‘chemical imbalance’, for example, because you have too much or not enough of a particular brain chemical. It’s complicated, and there are multiple causes of major depression.


Depression is a mood disturbance marked by feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and negative thoughts that are more severe or prolonged than the usual range of sadness that most people experience.

Causes of Depression

Depression is likely to be due to a complex combination of factors that include:

  • Biological, e.g. some prescription drugs: These include corticosteroids, interferon, and other prescription drugs.

Abuse of recreational drugs: Abuse of alcohol, amphetamines, and other drugs are strongly linked to depression.

Drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with this condition also have drug and alcohol problems. Over 500,000 Australians will experience depression and a substance use disorder at the same time, at some point in their lives.

  • Psychological, environmental, and social, e.g.; bereavement, divorce, work issues, relationships with friends and family, financial problems, medical concerns.

Some people may be more at more risk because of their personality, particularly if they have a tendency to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative.

  • Genetic factor

Depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. However, having a parent or close relative with depression doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have the same experience. Life circumstances and other personal factors are still likely to have an important influence.

Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms below are shown in almost all patients.  

  • Depressed or irritable mood for the majority of each day
  • Sleep problems (insomnia or hypersomnia)
  • Sense of intense slowness in movement and speech
  • Loss of energy (fatigue)
  • Reduced interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, loss of sexual desire
  • Sense of guilt and worthlessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness; as well as inability to think and make the right decisions.
  • unintentional weight loss (without dieting) or low appetite
  • Constant thoughts of death and attempt suicide

Treatment of Depression

Depression is a treatable mental illness. The psychotherapeutic and pharmaceutical treatments currently available are up to 80% effective at reducing or eliminating depressive symptoms.  The management would be simplified below:

  • Aerobic exercise may help against mild depression since it raises endorphin levels and stimulates the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is related to mood.
  • Eat well to support body, mind, and spirit.
  • Avoid the use of alcohol and other drugs, which may trigger or complicate it.
  • Sleep helps recovery and may help prevent recurrences.
  • Light therapy such as psychotherapy (CBT), talking therapy mainly using the computer or face-face talk has proven effective as a first step treatment. The use of antidepressants is helpful in treatment to the younger and older adults with a prescription.
  • A warning from the Food and Drug Administration Agency (FDA) says that “antidepressant medications may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in some children, teenagers, and young adults within the first few months of treatment.”

Depression Kills. Once noticed with any above symptoms, rush to a proper medical personnel and get help.  

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