Depression Definition Essay Samples
Depression is the common cold of mental disorders — most people will be affected by depression in their lives either directly or indirectly, through a friend or family member. Confusion about depression is commonplace, e.g., with regard to what depression exactly is and what makes it different from just feeling down.
There is also confusion surrounding the many types of depression that people experience — unipolar depression, biological depression, manic depression, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, etc. There have been so many terms used to describe this set of feelings we’ve all felt at one time or another in our lives, it may be difficult to understand the difference between just being blue and having clinical depression.
Depression is characterized by a number of common symptoms. These include a persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood, and feelings of hopelessness or pessimism that lasts nearly every day, for weeks on end. A person who is depressed also often has feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness. They no longer take interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed; this may include things like going out with friends or even sex. Insomnia, early-morning awakening, and oversleeping are all common.
Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain may be symptoms of depression in some people. Many others experience decreased energy, fatigue, and a constant feeling of being “slowed down.” Thoughts of death or suicide are not uncommon in those suffering from severe depression. Restlessness and irritability among those who have depression is common. A person who is depressed also has difficulty concentrating, remembering, and trouble making decisions. And sometimes, persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to traditional treatments — such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain — may be signs of a depressive illness.
Do I Have Just The Blues… Or Something More?
Feeling down or feeling like you’ve got the blues is pretty common in today’s fast-paced society. People are more stressed than ever, working longer hours than ever, for less pay than ever. It is therefore natural to not feel 100% some days. That’s completely normal.
Depression can be a gradual withdrawal from your active life.
What differentiates occasionally feeling down for a few days from depression is the severity of the symptoms listed above, and how long you’ve had the symptoms. Typically, for most depressive disorders, you need to have felt some of those symptoms for longer than two weeks. They also need to cause you a fair amount of distress in your life, and interfere with your ability to carry on your normal daily routine.
Depression is a severe disorder, and one that can often go undetected in some people’s lives because it can creep up on you. Depression doesn’t need to strike all at once; it can be a gradual and nearly unnoticeable withdrawal from your active life and enjoyment of living. Or it can be caused by a clear event, such as the breakup of a long-term relationship, a divorce, family problems, etc. Finding and understanding the causes of depression isn’t nearly as important as getting appropriate and effective treatment for it.
Grief after the death or loss of a loved one is common and not considered depression in the usual sense. Teenagers going through the usual mood swings common to that age usually don’t experience clinical depression either. Depression usually strikes adults, and twice as many women as men. It is theorized that men express their depressive feelings in more external ways that often don’t get diagnosed as depression. For example, men may spend more time or energy focused on an activity to the exclusion of all other activities, or may have difficulty controlling outbursts of rage or anger. These types of reactions can be symptoms of depression.
Depression is a mental illness under the psychological sector “Clinical psychology.” It has a few facets to it, and has numerous causes. It is also known as a mental state that most people undergo at some point in their lives. However, there are some people that get chronic depression, or forms of depression that need intervention to help bring them out of it.
A low mood is not depression
Some people think that because they are in a low mood they are depressed. Women seem to use the word depression as often as they use the toilet. Depression is a state of mind whereby there appears no future, past or hope for a person. The person feels nothing but a void and will not envision a happy future or pleasant present without provocation. It is a default position that a person takes on a conscious level that bores its way into the subconscious, which creates a negative feedback loop.
Bi-Polar (Manic Depressive) has a deeper root
People may go through a tough time and become temporarily depressed. In fact, depression is one of the five stages of the Kublar Ross grieving process, and yet a tough time, even a very bad time, does not create bi-polar disorder. This is because the condition has a deeper root that is either nestled in psychology, brought on by biochemistry, brought on by something physical, or all three.
People with Bi-polar depression go through psychological cycles that to the outside observer appear to be polar opposites. A sufferer will undergo periods of extreme sadness and hopelessness where he or she only sees a void in their past, present and future. The sufferer is often unwilling and unable to do anything productive and will feel low and horrible most of the time.
The polar opposite also occurs where the person experiences great degrees of optimism and even excitement and passivity. The person is often highly motivated and pushes him or herself to do things that they wouldn’t do otherwise. For example, if that person has been putting off re-paving the patio, then he or she may start right away by taking up the paving slabs and putting them on the drive to be collected. Many times, people undergoing such positive highs are often stricken with a negative low and their half-completed tasks remain uncompleted.
Causes can be environmental, biological, physical, genetic and psychological
Depression is not a mood, but it has as many causes as a mood. For example, if you were to define yourself as happy, which is a mood, it could be due to your environment, a drug, through a physical sensation, a psychological reason, and may even be because there is a gene that makes people predisposed to happiness. Depression works in a very similar way, except that the state of being depressed is far more serious and can be very difficult to get out of.
Depression has a number of causes and is more than just a low or a bad mood. It can be easy to get into, though it is sometimes thrust upon people without their prior knowledge, expectation or understanding. Furthermore, it is sometimes easy to get out of depression, but many ex-sufferers have trouble “staying” un-depressed.