By: Vianey Salazar

What is depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

Types of depression

Depression comes in many shapes and forms. Knowing what type of depression you have can help you manage your symptoms.

Mayor Depression

Major depression is much less common than mild or moderate depression and is characterized by intense, relentless symptoms.

  • Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months
  • Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but more commonly, major depression is a recurring disorder.
  • There are effective steps you can take to support your mood and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Dysthymia (recurrent, mild depression)

Dysthymia is a type of chronic "low-grade" depression

  • More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal moods.
  • Symptoms are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time (at least two years)
  • If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like you've always been depressed.
  • Dysthymia can be treated, even if your symptoms have gone unrecognized or untreated for years.
Bipolar Depression

Bipolar depression, also known as manic depression, is characterized by cycling mood changes.

  • Episode of depression alternate with manic episodes, which can include impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, rapid speech, and little to no sleep.
  • Every manic episode last for at least a week.
  • The treatments of bipolar depression are very different. In fact, antidepressants can make bipolar depression even worse.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

While the onset of winter can cause many of us to experience a drop in mood, some people actually develop SAD.

  • SAD can make you feel like a different person to who you are in summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed with no interest in friends or activities you normally love.
Postpartum Depression

Depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustments to motherhood, or fatigue.

Psychological Depression

When major depression or bipolar disorder are accompanied by hallucinations, delusions, paranoia.

How does depression affect you?

Depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.
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Things that could cause depression are:

  • Biological Differences
People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains.
  • Hormones
Changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
  • Inherited Traits
Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition.

Other causes of depression are:

  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Lack of social support
  • Recent stressful life experience
  • Relationship problems
  • Financial Strain
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • Health problems or chronic pain


Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms.
  • Feeling of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in daily interest
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Anger or irritability
  • Loss of energy
  • Self-loathing
  • Reckless behavior
  • Concentration problems
  • Unexplained aches and pains


Depression is a serious disorder that can take a terrible toll on individuals and families. It often gets worse if it isn't treated. Untreated depression can result in emotional, behavioral, and health problems that affect every area of your life.

Some complications may include:

  • Excess weight or obesity, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes
  • Pain and physical illness
  • Alcohol or substance misuse
  • Anxiety, panic disorder or social phobia
  • Family conflicts, relationship difficulties, and work or school problems
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal feelings, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting
  • Premature death from other medical conditions


Medications and Psychological counseling (psychotherapy) are very effective for most people with depression.


  • Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Doctors often start by prescribing SSRI. These medications are often safer and generally cause fewer side effects than other types of antidepressants.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Atypical Antidepressants
  • Tryciclic Antidepressants
Electricshock Therapy

Is a procedure, done under general anesthesia, in which small electric currents are passed through the brain, intentionally triggering a brief seizure. ECT seems to cause changes in brain chemistry that can quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illness.


  • 20% of people with major depressive disorder develop psychotic symptoms
  • 10-15% of women develop postpartum depression
  • 350 million: number of people worldwide who suffer from depression (that's 5% of the world's population
  • 16 million: number of U.S adults who had at least one major depressive episode in 2012
  • Women are most likely to be diagnosed with depression that men
  • Blacks and Hispanic Americans are more likely to be depressed
  • Dogs can also get depression