“Depression is, in part, grief for your own life not turning out how it should; grief for your own needs not being met.”– Johann Hari

What is depression?

It can be defined as a mental disorder that negatively affects the thoughts and behavior of a person. It can lead to a feeling of sadness and loss of interest in social activities that that usually interests that person. According to the reports of WHO, it is estimated that more than 264 million people of different ages suffer from depression. It is classified into mild, moderate, and severe depending on the severity of symptoms and the number of times it occurs. The recurrent depressive disorder repeatedly occurs, whereas Bipolar affective disorder consists of a maniac and depressive episodes with normal moods in between these episodes.

Reasons for depression:

Sometimes the differences in some chemicals in our brains can lead to symptoms of depression. The genetic composition has a role in depression among people. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the chances of an identical twin to be diagnosed with depression is about 70 percent if the other twin has depression. It is observed that people with a pessimistic approach towards life or people who have low self-esteem are likely to have symptoms of depression. The place where the person spends time also influences this illness. If a person is continuously exposed to violent instances or continuous exposure to neglect can also lead to depression. Even physical health is interrelated with depression, i.e., a person with the cardiovascular disorder is more vulnerable to depression. Other factors like poverty, unemployment, relationship issues, etc. can also lead to depression.

Symptoms of Depression:

Symptoms can either be mild, like feeling sad or loss of interest in social activities, or severe like thoughts of suicide. There can be effects on the physical health of individuals as well, like weight gain or weight loss without any dieting or exercise. It can also cause sleeping disorders in some individuals. It can have an impact on our daily activities, like making significant decisions, thinking, regular physical movements, and speech.

How can it be treated?

 According to the American Psychiatric Association, almost 80 to 90 percent of people suffering from depression respond positively to the treatment procedures. In some cases, treatment can help in reducing the severity of symptoms. Before starting the treatment, the health professionals must perform proper diagnosis because medical conditions like thyroid, vitamin deficiency, or a brain tumor can mimic symptoms of depression.

Antidepressants are the medication that is usually prescribed to people suffering from depression. Some examples of antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). This helps by changing the chemical composition of a person suffering from depression. But this method is not useful in the treatment of depression among children as it might have many side-effects.

The psychological approach in the treatment of depression includes cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) that is found to be effective in many people. This method is the most preferred treatment for people with mild depression.

An article in the Times of India reported that older adults are facing more significant depression during the pandemic period. People must start understanding the seriousness of this mental illness and start taking necessary measures to avoid situations that can lead to depression and also engage in various activities.

Sources: World Health Organization, American Psychiatric Association.

Author Name: Anita Babu.

Biography: She is a postgraduate student pursuing Masters in Psychology HRDM from Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore. Content-writing has always been her favorite hobby and she likes gaining knowledge about new topics.


Edited by: Shweta Mittal, Team SciComm