Whereas different types of depression exist, this article gives a generic view of what depression is without going to the specifics. Each type of depression has its own unique set of signs and symptoms but many of these overlap. With this in mind, let us explore what this “monster” is about.

Depression is first and foremost, a disease. Whereas there are different new-age psychologists who want to drop the idea of mental “illness” or mental “disorder,” accepting that depression is an illness and/or a disorder is and should be liberating. Having something about us that is “out of order” does not mean that we as individuals are “out of order.” Depression is not an adaptation as such; it is a system malfunction, a call to action, and a reminder that we are human; spirits in earthen vessels. And that is okay.

Depression is thus an illness that is often (not always) characterized by low mood and aversion to activities (especially normal and those that the person used to enjoy or at least get on with) that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings, and a sense of well-being.

A variety of factors contribute to the onset of depression including genes, hormonal and neurochemical imbalances, medical conditions, stressful, and difficult life circumstances such as grief and job loss.
The following may be observed in a person:

• Trouble concentrating
• Trouble making decisions
• Trouble remembering
• Thoughts of harming yourself
• Delusions and/or hallucinations

• Sadness
• Hopelessness
• Guilt
• Moodiness
• Angry outbursts
• Loss of interest.

• Withdrawing from people
• Substance abuse
• Missing work, school, or other commitments
• Attempts to harm yourself

Physical problems:
• Tiredness or lack of energy
• Unexplained aches and pains
• Changes in appetite
• Weight loss or weight gain
• Changes in sleep – sleeping too little or too much
• Sexual problems

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