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Learning the difference between sadness and depression

When to ask for help

What is depression?

Depression is a word that is used to describe when a person is feeling down for a short period of time. However it is most often used to describe a longer period of feeling down, lack of motivation, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, and sometimes thoughts about suicide. Depression often accompanies anxiety because some of the symptoms overlap. Depression can take many forms such as Major Depressive Disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It can also be a part of Bipolar Disorder. Depression does not discriminate by age. Children and the eldery are also susceptible to depression and special considerations must be made for these individuals.

Causes of depression

Many factors contribute to depression. Like most mental health issues, depression appears to occur due to a combination of biological/ genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Past traumatic experiences and difficulties with anxiety are linked to increased risk for depression. Often, people have a genetic predisposition to depression and stressful life events, or even changes in the weather link in Seasonal Affective Disorder, can lead to a depressive episode.

Treatment for depression

How to treat depression depends on several factors. For instance, if someone is struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder, light therapy in combination with medication and/or therapy tends to be the most helpful. If depression is linked to anxiety, trauma, or other mental health concerns, those other issues will need to be addressed in combination with depression. Typically treatment for depression includes a variety of lifestyle changes, medication, and therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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