What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness and low self-worth. While everyone experiences sadness at some point, depression is more than that- it is defined as recurring or uncontrollable feelings of sadness that the person experience more days than not over a period of more than 2 weeks. Depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders, affecting millions of people around the world.

Other symptoms of depression include:

  • feeling exhausted and fatigued
  • disturbances to normal sleep
  • loss of appetite
  • difficulty concentrating
  • intense feelings of guilt or worthlessness 
  • recurrent thoughts about death or suicide

People with depression often struggle to see any positives in their life and are unable to enjoy things they used to take pleasure in.

Depression can be caused by a range of factors and life experiences. Often it is caused by long-term stress or pressure leading to a perceived inability to cope, and can also be brought on as a long-term effect of traumatic events such as loss or major life changes. Your personality, upbringing and even your genetics can all play a part too. Sometimes depression appears without any obvious cause.

Depression can last for several months at a time, or it can continue for years if not treated. As with many mental disorders, depression can be treated using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, or CBT. CBT works by first helping those with depression to identify their symptoms such as patterns of thought and behaviour. Then CBT teaches techniques that help change these patterns and the forming more positive routines and habits.