Depression: It’s More Than Being Sad

Depression is a serious illness with a biological cause. It is not just feeling sad. However, if you have intense feelings of sadness, including feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, that last for a long period of time, then you may have clinical depression.


Depression Symptoms

If you have at least five of the following symptoms at the same time, then you may have clinical depression:

  • A low mood that lasts most of the day, especially in the morning
  • Feeling like you are worthless or feeling guilty almost every day
  • Feeling very tired every day
  • Impaired concentration and indecisiveness
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Loss of interest in life activities
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Restlessness
  • Weight loss or gain

A depression definition is somewhat hard to give because not everyone has the same symptoms. However, all forms of depression include some kind of dysfunction due to a negative mood.

Types of Depression

There are a number of different types of depression. These include:

  • Major depression
  • Dysthymia
  • Bipolar depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Psychotic depression
  • Postpartum depression
  • Substance-induced mood disorder

Depression Treatment

The type of treatment that you get for depression depends on the type that you have and how severe it is. Psychotherapy is one option. Antidepressants or other medicines are sometimes used. Also, brain stimulation techniques, such as electroconvulsive therapy, may be used. If you have bipolar depression, then the psychiatrist may prescribe other kinds of medication. These include mood-stabilizing drugs and antipsychotics.

Depression Medication

Depression drugs are typically antidepressants. These drugs elevate your mood and alleviate the sadness and hopelessness. Since clinical depression is a biological illness, these drugs work by altering brain chemistry. How the drugs work is not precisely understood, but they are thought to affect brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Research shows that circuits that use these chemicals don’t work properly in people with depression. Antidepressants help these circuits work better by altering the level of chemicals that run through them.

What Are the Types of Antidepressants?

SSRIs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Citalopram
  • Escitalopram
  • Fluoxetine
  • Paroxetine
  • Sertraline

SNRIs, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, affect brain circuits that use serotonin and norepinephrine. The following are examples of these drugs:

  • Duloxetine
  • Veniafaxine
  • Desvenlafaxine
  • Levomilnacipran

Exercise for Depression

In addition to being good for your body, exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment for mild depression. Research has shown that it works as well as medicine or psychotherapy.


Psychotherapy helps people with depression develop coping strategies for dealing with everyday stressors. It also helps people use their medication properly. There are many types of psychotherapy, including:

Cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy – These forms of therapy focus on how your thoughts and behaviors contribute to the depression.

Interpersonal therapy – This type of therapy focuses on how your relationships with others affect your depression.

Depression is a serious matter that can cripple you in your everyday life. Nowadays, it is possible to treat the illness in a number of ways. If you have the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment with your physician to get a referral to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.