What is depression?

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Depression is an emotional/psychological disorder characterized by feelings of anguish and deep sadness. Sadness is normal, we all feel sad at some point, but when we are unable to manage emotions, our inner peace is affected and we lose the energy that moves us to live a happy life.

The word Depression is derived from the Latin verb deprimere, which means “to press down, to crush, to sink”. The most common feeling of a depressed person is the anguish and tightness felt when we think or are in life situations that disturb and sadden us.

Depression, when left untreated, can become a spiral of anguish so severe that death may seem the only way out.

Depression vs. sadness

Depression should not be confused with sadness, although this is one of the symptoms of depression. However, usually, sadness appears as a reaction to a certain event and is temporary, while depression persists if there is no treatment, causing suffering and interfering with daily activities, professional performance and the family sphere.


It is the bad experiences of the past that bring us anguish and sadness. We feel anguish whenever we encounter experiences that break the state of motivation, such as offences, misunderstandings, violence, among so many other circumstances that take away inner peace and joy. Often, we suffer from experiences that clash with our dreams, with our ambitions and that damage our self-esteem and self-confidence.


Traumatic events can trigger depression or promote depressive episodes. Today it is also known that the personality type and the way we deal with adversity can be linked to a lesser or greater predisposition to depression.

Experiences such as traumas, child violence, bullying, divorces, difficult relationships can be experienced with an intensity that can be difficult to overcome.

In addition to biological causes, depression can be related to external factors. Therefore, in general, it develops by a mixture of factors. Here are some of the possible triggers:


Stressful events

Difficult situations can act as a trigger for depression. But beware, nothing to judge each person’s reaction to life’s events. For some people, ending a romantic relationship that lasted a few months may be enough to trigger depression. The severity of the event itself has little to do with the severity of the subsequent depression; the fact that it happened by itself is enough.

When an unpleasant event occurs, it is important to be at the side of the person facing it. The chances of developing depression will be less if you receive support from friends and family.



Loneliness is another trigger of depression. Being away from family or breaking relationships with friends, for example, can trigger the disease in predisposed people.


Chronic diseases

Fatal or long-term health problems, such as cancer or coronary heart disease, have the potential to lead to depression. In these cases, the condition is triggered by the need to live with the symptoms and also by the lack of perspective on the future. In addition, severe head injuries and hypothyroidism can also cause imbalances in brain chemistry that generate depressive symptoms.


Alcohol and drug use

Abusing alcohol and drugs, especially in difficult times, is dangerous. In complicated times, there are those who use them as an escape valve. But although they seem to “help” momentarily, the effect is the other way around: they end up starting or worsening depression.


Giving birth

Even an event as joyful as the birth of a baby can trigger depression. Certain women are particularly vulnerable to a variation of the disorder called postpartum depression. The condition occurs due to a mixture of biological and psychological conditions, related to hormonal variations and new maternal responsibilities.

When the emotions caused by these experiences are not managed or overcome, we enter a state of depression.

Overall, depression appears to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, biological and psychological factors.

Common Symptoms 

  • Sadness

  • Tiredness

  • Demotivation

  • Anger and/or irritability

  • Sleep disturbance

  • Concentration problems

  • Apathy

  • Agitation or lethargy

  • Crying Crises

  • Feelings of worthlessness

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness

  • Loss of energy

  • Self-loathing

  • Loss of interest in daily activities.

  • Unexplained aches and pains

  • Guilt symptoms

  • Decreased sexual desire

  • Appetite or weight changes

  • Reckless behaviour

  • Suicidal thoughts 


Signs to watch for

–  You feel like crying frequently and don’t even know why;

–  Sadness most of the day, for no apparent reason;

–  Persistent lack of energy and lack of motivation;

–  Feeling fatigued, sluggish, physically drained, exhausted, etc;

–  Struggling to fall asleep or/and wake up – insomnia or oversleeping;

–  Significant changes in appetite and/or weight (weight loss or weight gain);

–  An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, etc

– Trouble focusing, making decisions or remembering things.

–  Inability to concentrate, indecisive with frequent memory lapses

–  Low tolerance level, and short temper;

–  Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt and constant self-criticism;

–  Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent;

–  Struggling to engage in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex;

–  Loss of interest in day-to-day activities;

– Feeling like you lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure;

– Escapist behaviour such as substance abuse, reckless driving, compulsive gambling, etc;

– Recurring thoughts about death or suicide

– Wishes to die because death seems the only way out of anguish



Emotions such as fear, hurt and sadness, felt in depression, if left untreated, destroy our quality of life, incapacitating us from being happy.


The diagnosis of depression is made based on the observation, complaints and clinical history of the patient. Therapeutics may include psychotherapy and/or taking drugs (such as antidepressants, among others).


There are different psychotherapeutic currents: analytical, cognitive-behavioural, among others. The patient should look for the one he feels most identified with.

The most widely used treatment is still pharmacological, using drugs that act exclusively on symptoms of depression. However, medication does not always work and the side effects are very negative. Regular use of these drugs alters thinking and reasoning ability.

As for drugs, treatment is always individualized and only the doctor can prescribe the most appropriate medication for each case. Family and social support remain very important throughout the process.

Therefore, one must work on the causes of depression, and not on the symptoms, with Psychotherapy being the most suitable way for people who

Hope you find this article helpful and that has given you a better idea about what depression is and how to treat it.

There are several types of depression, as well as different causes. Regardless of this, it is essential to identify the symptoms of this mental illness and seek help.

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