Many people often ask, ‘What is depression?’
According to The British Psychological Society “Depression refers to a wide range of mental health problems characterized by the absence of a positive affect (a loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things and experiences), low mood and a range of associated emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioral symptoms.”
There are several types of depressive disorders, these include:
- Major Depressive Disorder- A mood disorder which causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest, also referred to as Depression and Clinical depression. Approximately 16.2% of Americans suffer from this disorder each year.
- Post-Partum Depression- Post-partum depression is a type of depression which can begin anytime within the first year after childbirth. According to the American Psychological Association, 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression. In addition to this postpartumdepression.org states that between 10-20% of women who give birth experience postpartum depression every year.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder- SAD is a type of seasonal depression, related to changes in seasons, it begins and ends around the same time every year.
There are many symptoms of depression that everyone experiences at some point, such as loss of interest in normal activities, feelings of emptiness and loneliness, social withdrawal, etc. However if these symptoms or any other symptoms of depression are experienced daily for two weeks or more, then you may have depression and should visit a doctor immediately. There are several tests that doctors can conduct to determine if your symptoms are caused by depression or another condition. There are also tests offered by NAMI and Google as well as the DASS and HADS which can be used to gauge the severity of symptoms and help to determine if you may depressed.
If you or a loved one is depressed there are many mechanisms which can be used to deal with depression. There are also useful online tools and guidelines that can help you identify what is depression, and find support if you or a loved one are suffering from it. In cases of severe depression professional help is always recommended.