What is depression?

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.

Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed

  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue

  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)

  • Feeling worthless or guilty

  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions

  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms must last at least two weeks and must represent a change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression (What Is Depression? (2013). Psychiatry.org. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression).


Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment. For this reason, antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry. So, if you would like to know more about the neuroscience of depression the video below may be helpful



If you supsect you may be suffering from depression, please, look for a professional help. Your doctor or a mental health professional can support you.


If your feelings overwhelmed by your feelings and you need imediate help, helplines can help you to debrief.

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