What is Depression – Facts that Everyone should Know

Depression is a form of mental health problem that affects the lives of millions of people all over the world but also an illness that has been widely covered. Having access to information is critical to anyone living with depression but with so much, sometimes the basics are overlooked. It is true that this can be a very serious illness and that proper diagnosis and treatment are crucial but it is important for people to know that not all forms of depression are debilitating or life-threating. In this article we wanted to go back over some of the initial things a person should know when asking, “What is depression?

Why Does Depression Start?

The list of reasons a person might experience symptoms of depression is quite lengthy although there are certain triggers responsible for most cases. Some of the primary reasons for this type of mental health problem starting include the death of a loved one, divorce, accident or trauma, serious illness, and work or school overload. Although some of these things cannot be prevented, an individual could make different choices to prevent or alleviate symptoms.

In addition to these triggers, someone with a family history of depression or any type of mental health problem would be at greater risk for developing the same illness. This is why when a person meets with a doctor in getting help to identify the cause of symptoms information on family history is always gathered. In this case, there is not much a person could do to prevent the onset of depression but being aware that depression is a potential problem would certainly help in being treated quickly when symptoms appear.

There are also certain medications that can produce symptoms of depression. In fact, when looking at listed side effects for many drugs it is clear that symptoms of this mental health problem exist. This would be important information for anyone but especially someone with a personal or family history of this condition. Remember, there are many variations of drugs and even natural remedies for health problems that could be considered opposed to taking medication with unpleasant side effects.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

As mentioned, once the symptoms of depression are recognized by the individual, a friend, or family member, it would be imperative to see a medical or mental health professional. In sitting down during a time of consultation, family history would be taken but along with this, the doctor would evaluate the person’s physical and cognitive behavior. In many cases, depression would be diagnosed based on information learned and actions analyzed but there are times when medical tests would be ordered for a firm diagnosis.

Based on everything, the type of depression and level of severity would be determined. If someone is dealing with a type of depression that can be effectively treated using conventional medicine or therapies and the condition is not severe, a treatment plan would be devised. As long as the individual follows the doctor’s orders, symptoms would begin to decrease. On the other hand, if the type of depression and severity are extreme, it might be necessary for the individual to be admitted to the hospital until the right treatment could be devised and given time to take hold.

Remember, while suicide is not an “out” considered by everyone with this particular form of mental health problem, it is an option that approximately 15% of people affected with this condition choose. This is why it is always recommended that even mild to moderate symptoms be checked by a trained professional. That way, a potentially dangerous situation could be avoided.

How is Depression Treated?

Treatment is another area of interest linked to the question, “What is depression”. In most cases, an individual could choose conventional or alternative medicine but regardless of which option is preferred, it would be essential to work closely with a mental health professional. For conventional medicine, a family doctor or even psychiatrist could help but for someone who prefers a natural treatment, a holistic or homeopathic doctor would be the appropriate type professional.

The type, number, and severity of symptoms associated with depression can change, which is why it is helpful to maintain a journal. If someone started to experience fewer or less intense symptoms, the treating doctor would have the chance to make adjustments to medication and/or therapy. If the number of symptoms increased or they worsened, medication dose could be increased, different medication tried, or more focused therapies tried.


Depression should never be looked at as simple because even an occasional and minor incident could quickly spiral out of control. Since this is such a prevalent problem, it would be beneficial for everyone to learn more about this mental health illness and to report any symptoms or concerns to a qualified doctor right away.