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Defining Depression: What Is It?

Depression is a challenging beast to deal with. There isn’t a person out there who hasn’t at least heard of the word depression. But, there are a lot of people out there who don’t fully understand what depression is.

Depression is one of the most common mental health issues someone can face. But due to depictions in the media and outdated beliefs, there is a common misconception about what depression actually is. Then, when you add in the stigma surrounding mental health, it becomes a topic that doesn’t get discussed as much in society.

But if the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that knowing about one’s own mental health is vital. To have a true understanding of what depression is, let’s first begin by defining it.

What Is Depression?

First and foremost, depression is a type of mood disorder. It is a mental health issue that can affect how a person feels, how they act, or what they think.

What comes to mind when you first hear the word depression? Is it someone who is overwhelmingly sad? Or someone who feels “blue” on a regular basis? If you answered yes, you are not wrong. However, having depression goes far beyond feeling sad.

There is more to depression than just feeling sad. There are many other symptoms of depression that can range from being mild to severe. These can include:

  • Loss of interest in hobbies, places, or things someone once enjoyed
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleeping too much or having difficulty staying asleep
  • Feelings of shame, guilt, or worthlessness
  • Trouble focusing
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Lack of energy
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideas

How Is Depression Diagnosed?

First, an individual must be diagnosed with having depression by a licensed physician or mental health professional. Second, the symptoms of depression must last for over two weeks in order to be formally diagnosed. The medical terminology for chronic depression is also sometimes referred to as clinical depression.

How Does Depression Affect Someone’s Life?

When someone is experiencing symptoms of depression, it can affect a lot of different areas of someone’s life. For instance, they may have trouble getting out of bed, going to work, or meeting up with friends or family on the weekend.

Dealing with depression is truly an uphill battle. It’s especially challenging when many people don’t understand what all it deals with. And feels even more disheartening when you hear things such as, “Snap out of it, it will be okay!” As if there was a switch you could just flick on and off and the depression goes away.

How Can You Deal with Depression?

It would be so nice if there was a switch like that. But if there was, it would be a switch that would never get used, because why would you turn it on in the first place?

One of the first steps to treating depression is by understanding that it is not your fault. There is nothing wrong with you. Everyone, at some point, has likely dealt with depression. Because depression encompasses more than just being sad, they may just not have realized it.

One of the first steps that people can take is just by understanding that depression is far more than just being sad and it is never the person’s fault who is going through it. Nobody asks to feel this way.

Depression can be caused by any number of things, including genetics or environmental factors. Medication is a popular way to treat symptoms of depression and is certainly affective. But, to truly have a change, the root cause of depression needs to be explored.

That’s why working with a licensed therapist in depression counseling can be highly effective. Reach out to us today so we can help you learn to break the stigma you have surrounding mental health and to receive the help you truly deserve.