What Is Depression?

For most people, depression is something they have heard of, but may not necessarily know much about. Sure, the word has made its way into common parlance, and you can frequently hear it used to describe sadness generally. From the perspective of mental health counselors, the word depression describes a specific mood disorder with a range of causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

While the particular symptoms of depression vary from person to person, it can generally be characterized by long-term feelings of sadness, worthlessness, fatigue, and little to no desire to take part in activities that were previously considered enjoyable. Thanks to the ebbs and flows of everyday life, we all experience the feelings listed above from time to time. In the case of depression, these feelings don’t just occur once in a blue moon — they can interfere with your normal routine, cause you to miss work, or persist for two weeks or more.

Depression doesn’t just influence emotion or mood. It can also affect crucial mental processes like concentration, decision making, and memory. For people suffering from a major depressive disorder, it can feel like their cognitive processes are slowed. Lack of energy, irritability, and restlessness are also factors that are frequently associated with the changes in cognitive function resulting from depression.

For many people outside of psychology or psychiatric fields, the effects of depression might seem like they are limited to mental health. While the symptoms listed above show that depression does have a major impact on mental health, multitudes of empirical studies have demonstrated that depression is an extremely complex mood disorder with a wide range of effects. Depression can affect many different physiological processes, including sleep, appetite, and immune response. Depression can even lead to physical pain, which can arise through headaches or chronic muscle aches.

It is crucial to remember that not everyone who suffers from depression will experience all of the symptoms. There are various types of depressive disorders, and one person can experience many different symptoms over time. Depression is not a simple mood disorder. It can show its head in a variety of ways, and it can impact the entire body. Due to this, it is wise to seek help from a trained professional mental health counselor.