Home > Family & Friends > Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 1 Feb 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Depression Depressive Illness Women Men

An important part of understanding depression is getting a sense of what it is where it comes from and how it affects people. To many people, depression is a confusing and intense mental illness that, until it is personally experienced, is somewhat of a mystery. Compounding the barriers to understanding depression are a variety of myths about what depression is, or isn't. Another question raised is why some people seem more susceptible to depression and others struggle with it for many years.

Why Me?

Nobody deserves to be depressed and when a person is diagnosed with clinical depression, they may wonder, 'why me?' Self-blame and confusion about how the depression occurred can leave depressed persons with guilt and frustration. Depression can, however, be preceded by many factors such as stress, anxiety over relationships, bereavement and childhood distress. Some of the causes with a more physiological basis are hormonal imbalances and changes in brain chemistry. Other triggers are substance abuse with alcohol or illegal drugs.

What Happens In The Brain?

When a brain is functioning properly, it controls many parts of your body, such as movement and emotions. The brain contains huge numbers of nerve cells known as neurons and these neurons transmit messages through brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are responsible for regulating many activities such as sleep, eating and mood. When neurotransmitters are not working properly, communication is essentially altered and depression can result.

Why Doesn't It Always Get Diagnosed?

The number of people who don't seek treatment for depression is estimated as high, partly because many people just keep waiting for the symptoms to go away. When this doesn't happen, they are often too afraid to see a doctor and worry about being stigmatized at work or by friends and family. How a person presents their symptoms can also affect accurate diagnosis. Many people will downplay the severity of depression symptoms and men in particular may not show the emotional symptoms to the extent that women do. This can make depression more challenging for a doctor to diagnose. Doctors also fear 'labelling' children with an illness such as depression; because they worry the enormity of the diagnosis will make it harder to successfully treat the condition. Many other conditions share the same features as depression and unfortunately, this can lead to depression being misdiagnosed.

Why Does Treatment Take Longer For Some People?

Depression is such a complex illness that researchers still don't know exactly why some people are able to overcome a depressive episode, never to suffer from one again, while others struggle with depression for years, with little respite in between episodes. Various factors such as support networks, response to medication, genetics and life history are involved and many people will spend a great deal of time pinpointing those parts of their life that trigger depression.

The first battle for successfully treating depression is to understand what causes it as well as what changes occur in the body, thoughts and emotions. Education and research are vital to learning more about depression and reducing the stigma and myths that abound. The most important thing to know is that there is treatment available and the more you understand that depression is a genuine medical illness, the sooner you can focus on treating your depression.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Dolo - Your Question:Hi I’m 16 weeks pregnant , I’ve been dating this guy for 6 months now and we both have another kid. I’m so…
    19 January 2018
  • Dolo
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Hi I’m 16 weeks pregnant , I’ve been dating this guy for 6 months now and we both have another kid . I’m so torn because if i keep…
    19 January 2018
  • Maggie
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had an abortion 1 year 7 months and 17days back. And it haunts me everyday. I still hear the tiny heartbeats over my sonography…
    17 January 2018
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    miny - Your Question:I had an abortion forced by my family I was under pressure and young back then its 8 years on and can't…
    5 January 2018
  • miny
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had an abortion forced by my family i was under pressure and young back then its 8 years on and can't forget the terrible thing…
    3 January 2018
  • TheLeftBehind
    Re: How to Rebuild Your Life After a Breakdown
    I underwent depression almost 4 years ago. I took up a national test and sadly I wasn't able to pass the test.…
    28 December 2017
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    MD - Your Question:It is a year tomorrow since I went for my surgical termination, I was 9 weeks pregnant, the worst part about it…
    22 November 2017
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    ED - Your Question:I've just turned 25 and I've had 2 abortions. I also have a son who is 3. And is the most amazing person in my…
    14 November 2017
  • OvercomeDepression
    Re: Insomnia Caused by Depression
    corey - Your Question:Hello and im corey and im 40 years old. Ive been experiencing sleep difficulties for the past 2 weeks. To…
    23 October 2017
  • corey
    Re: Insomnia Caused by Depression
    Hello and im corey and im 40 years old. Ive been experiencing sleep difficulties for the past 2 weeks. To this day Im unable to…
    20 October 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the OvercomeDepression website. Please read our Disclaimer.