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:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Sasha
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    Im 8 and half weeks pregnant. I am 38 and have a 9 and 11 year old. This wasnt planed. My husband wants me to get an abortion but…
    26 July 2017
  • Nells
    Re: How to Reduce the Risks of Depression Reoccurring
    I found these article extremely useful.I was able to identify with almost everything. I was also liked…
    21 July 2017
  • Matthew
    Re: How to Rebuild Your Life After a Breakdown
    I have just finished writing myself through a prolonged period of mental illness and think that I may have come…
    20 July 2017
  • Anon
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had a medical abortion today... I had the intention of keeping my pregnancy but something within me kept tugging on that thought…
    2 July 2017
  • kunjumol
    Re: Driving and Depression
    i am taking medicines for anti depression i am ok but i very nervey and memory level is not good anxiety and ,negativity the qualities…
    28 June 2017
  • less
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had also an abortion ten years ago i got depressed until now because my ex wanted to abort our baby and i am so scared with my…
    26 June 2017
  • debily
    Re: How To Assert Yourself
    Hyy, I'm a student pursuing my B.tech carrier,currently in the final year of it. criticism and comments arouse out of some of my foolish…
    17 June 2017
  • Mrs P
    Re: How to Rebuild Your Life After a Breakdown
    Returning To Work After Depression Have had several depressive incidents in the past, both reactive and through…
    9 June 2017
  • Mrs P
    Re: How To Assert Yourself
    Have had several depressive incidents in the past, both reactive and through steroid side effects. In each case, once on meds have…
    9 June 2017
  • Devistated
    Re: Depression After an Abortion
    I had a medical abortion 3 weeks ago and the grief, upset, heartbreak is consuming me! I went through with it due to no support,…
    4 June 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.