Depression: What is it? Why is it a problem?

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What is depression? Is it a problem? If so, why? What are some things that be done about it? Depression is a problem. If you are diagnosed with depression, obviously it may mean you could be very unhappy. To be depressed can say and mean a lot of things. Depression is a chronic illness that usually causes long-term problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Most likely if you are depressed you are feeling sadness for one reason or another.

Why was this topic important to me? What do I hope it will do for people?
I find depression to be a very serious issue. It can take very dangerous effects on people. I feel as if it is a matter that needs to be addressed because of this. Depression can ruin a person life. It makes you think differently. It’ll make you do things differently. It’ll tear at you till you can’t take it anymore and you snap out and possibly harm yourself or even take your own life. Friends of mine, people I care about, have told me of how the depression they feels and how it has hurt them. How they started using drugs as a way to deal with it, only to become hooked on them and just end up slowly killing themselves. I’ve lost friend’s before, because they were too depression to come to school anymore or do anything. I have witnessed the tolls depression has taken on the people I know and love and I know other people have watched it do the same to their families and friends. I also know their are others suffering from depression themselves. I hope that by doing this essay, people who may read it or hear about it will know how to help other who may suffer from it or know how they could help themselves.

The main scientific understanding is that depression doesn’t have single causes; it rises because of many simultaneous reasons. You feel as if there is no way out. True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration come in between everyday for weeks or longer. Day by day the pain increases and can very well lead to dangerous outcomes if it continues to go untreated. It often begins in the teens, 20’s, or 30’s, but it can start at any age. So anyone can get it. All age groups and all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups can experience depression. No one is incapable of getting it.

In the U.S., about 14.8 million adults suffer from major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental health. And one in ten adults - about 19 million, experience symptoms of major depression every year. Twice as many women are diagnosed with depression as men, but this may be because women are more likely to seek treatment for depression than men are.

Depression may also be a contributing factor toward heart problems. It is estimated that by the year 2020, major depression will be second only to ischemic heart disease in terms of the leading causes of disability in the world. People who are depressed are more likely to have a heart attack and heart attack victims are most likely to be depressed. The mental stress that comes with depression may increase plaque formation in that person’s arteries("What Is Depression? | Understanding Sadness and Clinical Depression” par 4).

Causes and effects
“Causes of depression may come from even the simplest things. Some of these include breaks up, stressful life events, long term pains, abuse, neglect, etc. Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause depression later in life. Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, can also increase the risk of depression.  Depression can be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or just down in the dumps. It may appear as anger and discouragement, rather than feelings of sadness. Many researchers believe it is caused by chemical changes in the brain”(National Library of Medicine par 3).

      The studies that have documented on brain changes during depression, shows that a common abnormality in these areas of the brain may put people in danger of a recurrence of depression, Bremner writes. Not all depression types are the same. Major depression, also known as clinical depression, and chronic depression, also known as dysthymia, are the most common types. But there are also other types of depression with unique signs, symptoms, and treatment.

      The National Institute of Mental Health says that major depressive disorder is characterized by a combination of symptoms that mess with a person's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. You may feel sad, lonely, or hopeless for a while. But major depression (Clinical Depression) lasts longer and is disabling. It’ll keep you from functioning normally. An episode of clinical depression could happen just one time in a person's life. Often sometimes, it recurs("Depression Symptoms, Warning Signs, Types, and Complications. par 4"). Also, with major depression, one of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest. Symptoms should be present daily or for most of the day or nearly everyday for about two weeks. The depressive symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning. The symptoms cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance (drug abuse, medications) or a medical condition, such as hypothyroidism, nor happen within two months of the loss of a loved one. ("Depression Symptoms, Warning Signs, Types, and Complications.”) Chronic depression, or dysthymia, is characterized by a long-term depressed mood. Long-term meaning it’ll maybe last for about 2 years more even. There are also symptoms present that are associated with major depression but there isn’t enough there for a diagnosis of major depression. Chronic depression is not as severe as major depression is and normally does not disable the person. If you do have dysthymia or chronic depression, you may go through maybe one or more episodes of major depression in your life.

       Atypical Depression has a big mix of different symptoms. The key symptoms of Atypical depression are overeating, oversleeping, fatigue, extreme, sensitivity to rejection, moods that get worse, or improve in direct response to events, etc. Regular, or "typical", depression on the other hand, tends to be marked by pervasive sadness and a pattern of loss of appetite and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.

       Bipolar disorder is a type of depression that is at times described as manic depression . It is a complex mood disorder that changes between periods of clinical depression and times of extreme elation or mania. Bipolar disorder comes in two subtypes, bipolar I and bipolar II. With bipolar I disorder, you may have a history of at least one manic episode with or without major depressive episodes. With bipolar II disorder, you could have a history of at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic (mildly elated) episode(Goldberg, Joseph. "Types of Depression: Major, Chronic, Manic, and More Types.”).

       Some types of depression can run in families. It can still happen even if your family has no history of depression. It can change the way you see yourself, your life, and those around you. It may cause personal conflicts or disputes with your family members or friends. When very severe, it can even cause psychotic effects on you, such as hallucinations and delusions, which is a sign of psychotic depression. With psychotic depression, delusional thoughts or other symptoms of psychosis accompany the symptoms of depression.  

        Depression often causes appetite to decrease and weight loss. But sometimes it will make cravings for food increase and cause you to weight gain. Depression can also raise the production of free radicals and fatty acids, damaging the lining in your blood vessels. Fatty acids that are required by the human body but cannot be made in sufficient quantity from other substrates, and therefore must be obtained from food, are called essential fatty acids(Holetzky, Sherry, and Niki Foster. WiseGeek. Conjecture, n.d. Web. 03 May 2013). Free radicals are thought to play a part in the aging process, in some autoimmune diseases, and in the development of cancer(“Schmitz, Matthew. "Free Radicals - Definition of Free Radicals”).

More symptoms of depression can be restlessness, irritability, and becoming withdrawn or isolated. Complications of depression also include increased risk of health problems. A person who is depressed can be really hard and draining to deal with. Because of this, a depressed person’s relationships can become strained, to where others will start to avoid them. This helps worsen a depressed person’s self-image and makes them feel more isolated, making the depression intensify. The continuing pain reduces the chances for a successful recovery from depression and increases the possible risk of suicide.

       Depression has a high risk of suicide. Suicide is a potentially preventable public health problem. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken seriously. Men will take their own lives nearly four times the rate of women, accounting for 79% of suicides in the United states. Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder. Many times, people who die by suicide have a substance abuse problem. Often they have that problem in combination with other mental disorders.

       Some warning signs of depression include, Talking about suicide, frequently talking about death. Talking about feeling hopeless, helpless, or worthless and saying stuff like “It’d be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out.” Symptoms including deep sadness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, trouble sleeping and eating. Abrupt changes of mood, from extreme and/or deep sadness to happiness or calm. Risk-taking behavior like driving too fast and recklessly. Calling and or visiting people to say goodbye. Or Putting affairs in order like changes to your will. A person who could be at higher risk of attempting suicide if that person has a chronic or terminal illness, is separated or divorced, is underemployed or unemployed, or has a family history of suicide. ("Suicide and Depression: Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Suicide")

My Conducted Interview
Something I did to help show the problems depression causes and get a first-hand point of view was interview someone who themselves has been diagnosed with depression. I interviewed her on her experience with it and what are some ways it affected her life. I interviewed Aundra Eason. She and I went to school together in the 9th grade till she lost interest in school for a while because of her depression. She is 17 and currently lives outside of philadelphia, so to interview her I asked her my questions over the phone.

Question One: Have you ever viewed yourself as depressed?
Answer:  Yes I have

Question two: How does your condition make those around you feel?
Answer: Probably annoyed because when you’re depressed you get mood swings

Question three: Have you ever gotten help? If so, by who and what did that person do to help?
Answer: My mom and teacher noticed it first. They started talking about if I need a therapist or not. I was ten, but I’ve been depressed since I was four.

Question four: What are things that make you feel depressed?
Answer: Lost of someone, death, sickness, misfortune, bad luck, and everyday life.

Question five: Why do those things make you feel that way?
Answer: I don’t understand why it has to happen sometime. And the effect it has on them. It makes people feel different kind of emotions and they don’t understand why they feel that either. And it turns into a cycle of emotions.

Question six: Have you ever had thoughts of and/or considered suicide?
Answer: Once. I had an argument with my mother. And I just wondered if anyone would miss me if I was gone. After like five minutes of thinking it over, I went and got a kitchen knife and sat in the downstairs bathroom for like five minutes. After thinking about it for a few moments, it seemed really stupid and what we argued about wasn’t really important anyway. I realized I just wanted attention and never thought about again.

Question seven: How do you feel on a regular basis?
Answer: I feel like a little foggy, and depression is always there kinda like a cloud. I’m always moody. And I make little things into big things, when they’re not.

Question eight: What would you suggest to others who may feel like you do?
Answer: Do not keep it to yourself. It may sound cliché but do not think you are crazy. No one in the world is normal. There is no such thing as ideal. Just talk to somebody about it. Try to find someone who is not depressed. Because they will just make you feel worst about how you’re already feeling. Medicine is not always for you and sometimes will often make you feel worst. Because you think that no one else takes medicine like you. Just try to deal with it the best you can, until someone can help you.

Reflection: I’m happy I was able to ask these questions and that Aundra was okay with answering them. I do wish I was maybe able to ask better questions or maybe more on her history with depression.

Depression even in its most severe cases is still highly treatable. Recognizing that you are depressed is the first step toward feeling better, says Subhdeep Virk, MD.  If you are suicidal and/or extremely depressed and can’t function you may need to be treated in a psychiatric hospital. After you have been on treatment, if you feel your symptoms are getting worse, talk with your doctor. Your treatment plan may need to be changed(Library of Medicine, 18 Jan. 0001. Web. 02 May 2013). As with many illnesses, the earlier that treatment begins, the more effective the treatment is and the most likelihood that recurrence can be kept from happening.

       Treatments for depression include, medications called antidepressants, and/or psychotherapy. During psychotherapy, you learn about your condition and your moods, feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Psychotherapy helps you learn how to take control of your life and respond to challenging situations with healthy coping skills. There are many specific types of psychotherapy, each with its own approach. The type of psychotherapy that's right for you depends on your individual situation. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy, counseling, psychosocial therapy or, simply, therapy(“Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research”).

      Antidepressants should not be used unless the depression is severe and/or other treatments have already failed. As with all drugs, the use of antidepressants requires monitoring for side effects, and suicide should be considered a possible side effect of the newer antidepressants. Children, teens, and young adults should be watched closely for suicidal behavior. This is especially true during the first few months after starting medicines for depression. Medications can also help by stopping some of the negative thinking patterns that make it harder to see out of a depression. Thoughts like, “this will never end and/or will go on forever” make it hard to move forward. Allow the medicine time to work. It could take a few weeks before you feel better.

      Keep taking your medicine as instructed. Do not stop taking it or change the amount you are taking without talking to your provider. Always ask your doctor about possible side effects and what to do if you have any. And Women being treated for depression who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should not stop taking antidepressants without first talking to their provider. If you feel your medicine is not working, tell your provider. The medicine or its dosage may need to be changed. Do not stop taking the medicines on your own(Antidepressant Definition - Medical Dictionary Definitions of Popular Medical Terms Easily Defined on MedTerms." Medterms”). There are many types of depression medicines today. Learn about antidepressants, the effects and side effects and work with your doctor to get the best depression medicine for your symptoms.

      Other things that may help could be trying to exercise, keeping good sleeping habits, looking for activities and hobbies that make you happy, discussing your feelings with someone you trust, and try being around people who are caring and positive.(“Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. "Major Depression." Major Depression. U.S. National Library of Medicine”). Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or the deaf hotline at 800-799-4889. The best way to minimize the risk of suicide is to know the risk factors and to recognize the warning signs of suicide. Take these signs seriously. Know how to respond to them. It could save someone's life. ("Suicide and Depression: Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Suicide" par 1)

Work Cited

Essential Question: What effects does it take on a person’s life, how can it be stopped?
Research Links:
Source One:
"Depression: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia." U.S National Library of Medicine. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 03 May 2013. <www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/en…>
Description: Depression Facts, Causes

Source two:
"Depression Symptoms, Warning Signs, Types, and Complications." WebMD. WebMD, 2005-2013. Web. 03 May 2013. <www.webmd.com/depression/guide…>.
Description: Symptoms and Signs of Depression
Source three:
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhea… Board, A.D.A.M. Editorial. "Major Depression." Major Depression. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 18 Jan. 0001. Web. 02 May 2013.
Description: Major Depression
Source four:
Description: What is Depression

Source five
Description: Depression/ MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia

Source six

Source seven
Schmitz, Matthew. "Free Radicals - Definition of Free Radicals." About.com Prostate Cancer. N.p., 22 Oct. 2008. Web. 03 May 2013. <prostatecancer.about.com/od/im…>.

Source eight
Cell Biology: A Short Course
By Stephen R. Bolsover, Jeremy S. Hyams, Elizabeth A. Shephard, Hugh A. White, Claudia G. Wiedemann
Source nine

Goldberg, Joseph. "Depression and Suicide: Warning Signs and Prevention." WebMD. WebMD, 03 May 0000. Web. 30 Apr. 2013. <www.webmd.com/depression/depre…>. (16)

Source ten
Goldberg, Joseph. "Types of Depression: Major, Chronic, Manic, and More Types."WebMD. WebMD, 05 July 2012. Web. 03 May 2013.

Source 11
"Suicide and Depression: Risk Factors and Warning Signs of Suicide." WebMD. WebMD, 2005-2013. Web. 03 May 2013. <www.webmd.com/depression/guide…>

Source 12

Source 13
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 05 Jan. 2013. Web. 03 May 2013. <www.mayoclinic.com/health/psyc…>

Source 14
"Antidepressant Definition - Medical Dictionary Definitions of Popular Medical Terms Easily Defined on MedTerms." Medterms. N.p., 1996-2013. Web. 03 May 2013. <www.medterms.com/script/main/a…>
antidepressant drugs

Source 15
Holetzky, Sherry, and Niki Foster. WiseGeek. Conjecture, n.d. Web. 03 May 2013.  <www.wisegeek.com/what-are-fatt…>

Source 16
"What Is Depression? | Understanding Sadness and Clinical Depression." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 03 May 2013. <www.webmd.com/depression/guide…>.
© 2013 - 2020 Paris7500
This is my senior project. I did the topic on Depression, facts, info, and ways to help.

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WonHitWonder's avatar
WonHitWonderHobbyist General Artist
Excellent job.  Thanks for submitting this, it's such a good resource!
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Melanie-samaStudent Artist
My friend has depression. I want to be there for her as much as I can, so I want to learn as much as I can about it. Thanks so much for posting this. ^^
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weekendhuntersHobbyist Writer
This is a good academic paper. I think you should submit this to ~WeTheWriters! We're always looking out for good articles such as this one.
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Oh, and sorry for declining its submission into the group #DD-Catalogue but the group can only accept deviations that have Daily Deviations, here's what I was supposed to say -

Thank you for submitting to #DD-Catalogue. :thanks: But we cannot accept your submission, as it does not have a Daily Deviation (DD). We do not award DDs. We only catalogue DDs, hence our group name. For more information about DDs and the proper way to suggest one, see:

FAQ #61: What is a Daily Deviation?
FAQ #18: Who selects Daily Deviations and how are they chosen?

To see if you have work that you can submit to our group, check this page: [link]


Have a nice day :)
PhoenixDestruction's avatar
This is really good, it gives very clear understand of it's term, and it is also so full of emotion.
UnnaturalBeing's avatar
UnnaturalBeingStudent General Artist
A very well written piece, I hope you do well on this project x
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Paris7500Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you.
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