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Depression Symptoms, Types, Causes, A Complete Guide to Good Treatment

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

Everyone is going through something. Anyone at any age can get depressed. Depression is a feeling that you are not necessarily sad, but just really empty. It is also very complex.

Depression is a medical condition and is a mood disorder caused by a biochemical imbalance in the brain. Disorders can be short or long term and range from mild to severe. The causes vary and research points to hereditary factors. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is recognized as normal depressed mood and grief, an adjustment disorder with depressed mood, mild depression or dysthymia, major depression, bipolar disorder, atypical depression; seasonal affect disorder (SAD), and post-partum depression. Depression can also be a symptom of another psychological condition like post-traumatic stress disorder.

Due to its complexity defining and understanding depression is elusive. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and estimates that 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression ... and the numbers seem to be increasing.

Some 15 million Americans battle the disorder, and many are young people. Depression is the most common and destructive illness in the United States, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, and an estimated 35-40 million Americans are expected to suffer a major depressive illness during their lifetime. Depression is a silent killer. Somebody may appear to be positive and happy, but inside, something is eating away at them.

You look happy, but you don't feel happy. That's what depression does to you. Depression makes you want to hide inside yourself. But hiding your feelings or lack of feelings, or your numbness, won't help you get well. We try to hide our feelings, but we forget that our eyes speak. Depression is a disorder of the body as much as of the mind. A large part of depression is anxiety.

A depressed mood is a significant feature of other mental health conditions in addition to sadness; helplessness; hopelessness; pessimism; restlessness; irritability; fatigue; weight gain or loss; and suicidal ideation, to name a few. What is the pain in your life? Define it. If you could change just one thing about your exposure to a painful event, what would it be? And making statements like “You just need a drink'” or “Cheer up!” just won’t work. It’s not something you can just snap out of. There is no emotional eraser.

In addition to depression, there is another challenge – unshakable physical pain. For many people, possibly up to half of depression sufferers, bodily pain is the way depression presents itself. The pain is often vague and unexplained by injury. It may show up as a headache, abdominal pain, or musculoskeletal pains in the lower back, joints, and neck or in any combination of pains. The painful physical symptoms of depression typically take the form of multiple somatic complaints. Depression is a war. Don’t give up just because you lost one pain battle. Remember that having a bad day does not mean you have – or will have – a bad life. Try and think another way. Think in opposites. This is good for the neurons in your brain.

Most people take time to come to terms with stressful events, such as bereavement or a relationship break up. There are many potential causes of depression that go beyond a stressful or traumatic life event. There is no one reason leading to depression. Depression results from a blend of genetic, biologic, environmental, and psychological elements. Major negative experiences, for example, a trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any nerve-wracking situation that overwhelms your ability to cope—may trigger a depressive episode. Your mental attitude determines your degree of suffering. Examine your suffering and determine where it originates. Then you can reduce your pressure. Some experts believe that the clearest way of understanding depression is through its effects on metabolism—essentially whether it causes weight gain or loss. It’s hard to say you’re suffering when you’re suffering. But be willing to volunteer to help yourself by being transparent with you feelings and issues. It’s okay to say: Help!

About the Author:

Hilary Valdez is a freelancer living in Tokyo, Japan. He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle.

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