Health Class: Depression

depressionDepression is a very difficult problem to deal with, and it’s a psychological problem that affects around 50% of the world population at some time in their lives. It’s thought that antidepressants, in conjunction with a decent therapy, are almost twice as affective at treating depression than antidepressants alone.

What Causes Depression

Some people believe that being stressed at work or being upset about something can cause depression. In some people, that’s true. But experts believe that depression is caused by a combination of biological issues – chemical imbalances within the brain, psychological problems, which may include things that have happened in your life or that are happening to you now, genetics, and whether or not you have an adequate support network in place. A combination of all of these things is what is thought to cause depression.

Types of Depression

Major Depression

Major depression is characterized by feelings of overwhelming sadness, inability to enjoy life and feelings of hopelessness. The symptoms are usually moderate to severe and major depressive episodes typically last for six months if they are not treated. Some sufferers will experience just one major depressive episode in their life time, which may be brought on by something stressful happening in their lives, but more commonly, those who suffer from major depression will have frequent depressive episodes in their lifetime.


This type of depression is characterized by a constant feeling of low level depression. You may feel consistently sad, low, or down, but not in the depths of despair that you can’t interact with other people. If you have dysthymia, you may feel like you’ve always been depressed or that you’re just not a happy person. Dysthymia typically last for two years, and it is possible to have a major depressive episode alongside dysthymia, which is known as ‘double depression’.


This is a very common subtype of major depression. It’s not as severe as major depression, and your mood is typically elevated after receiving good news or having fun, enjoyable times. Once those times are over, however, your mood will go back to being low and depressed. It’s very changeable but it can really affect the individual involved.

Antidepressants, Therapy and Life Changes

Once you realize that you may be suffering from depression or are feeling depressed, you should try to seek medical help or attention. One of the most difficult things for some people to do is to accept that they need the help or that they need to take antidepressants. Most doctors will recommend that you make a number of life changes, that you start a course of antidepressants, and you may also be referred to a therapist.

Life changes can include developing a support network and reaching out to your friends and family, as well as practicing relaxation techniques and getting regular exercise and sleep. You should also eat and drink properly and try to up your intake of vitamin rich foods.

As for antidepressants, there are many different types. The type that you have prescribed to you will depend on your age, your sex and what type of depression you have, as well as what the cause of your depression is. Because there are so many types of antidepressant, if the first variety you try doesn’t work for you, it’s entirely possible to change to another type of medication until you find something that works.

The type of therapy used to treat depression differs from doctor to doctor, but one of the most common types is CBT, which is a behavioral therapy. This teaches you how to modify your behavior and alter the way you feel after certain events, meaning that you can manage your emotions more efficiently. Studies have shown that it’s very effective especially when paired with antidepressants.