March 2016


Sometimes it is quite normal for everyone to feel dull and sad at times, but these feelings are short lived and may soon disappear. However depression is different as it interferes with your daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you.

Depression is the feeling of sadness, helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness which may last for many days or months, leaving you unable to deal with day to day activities normally.

Types of Depression-

The main types of depression include-

  • Major depression-in major depression a person may show symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. 

  • Persistent depressive disorder - When a person is diagnosed with persistent mental illness he or she may show signs of less severe symptoms of depression which persists for 2 years or longer.

  • Psychotic depression - A person with psychotic depression may have disturbing false beliefs or delusions, seeing or hearing the things which others cannot hear or see along with symptoms of Depression.

  • Postpartum depression - It is more serious kind of depression that many women experience after giving birth to a young one. It is estimated that 10-15 percent of women experience postpartum depression due to hormonal ,physical and psychological changes that occur during this time.

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) - This kind of depressive disorder is characterized by onset of depression in an individual with the changing season, specially during onset of winters when there is less sunlight. The symptoms or the disorder gradually decreases or vanish away during spring and summer season.

Symptoms of Depression-

The symptoms of depression may vary as per individual but the common symptoms include-

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

  • Fatigue and decreased energy

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness

  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

  • Insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping

  • Irritability, restlessness

  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

  • Loss of pleasure in life

  • Overeating or appetite loss

  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings

  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

What Causes Depression

  • Life events, both positive and negative can trigger off depression. Examples of these are - losing a job, separation from loved one, financial problems, marriage and family quarrels.

  • Nonevents can also cause depression - boredom at home or work, unemployment and retirement, losing one's purpose in life, loneliness.

  • Heredity and personality make up can also be the basic reason for the tendency to develop depression.

  • Physical factors such as changes or imbalances in body chemicals, illness, taking alcohol or drugs, certain medicines, or a poor diet specially in old age can cause depression.

When to seek help?

  • If you should notice some of the signs mentioned above, and if you find that feelings of depression and loss of mental and physical energy are taking over so that daily life is disrupted, consult a psychiatrist. If the person seems to give up responsibility for himself and is barely able to care for his own basic needs, and if any ideas of suicide are expressed or suspected, seeking help must be immediate.



  • Few people realize that depression is treatable. The psychiatrist or psychologist can help the depressed person in the following ways:

  • Psychological testing - The psychologist can carry out several tests, among them tests of personality, tests for the detection of psychological problems, tests for determining interests and aptitudes and tests of intelligence level. These can be very valuable in planning the person's treatment.

  • Medication is often used in severe cases of depression, particularly when the depression is of the type caused by physical factors. It is useful in even mild or moderate cases to improve depression so that changes in life style can take place but must always be used under the supervision of a Psychiatrist

  • Hospitalization is necessary in cases of severe depression, specially when there is a threat of suicide. Electroconvulsive therapy may be required in severely depressed suicidal cases.

  • Psychotherapy involves working through the person's problems and allowing him to express and come to terms with his feelings. A reassessment of the person's life situation takes place and the person is helped to overcome blocks that prevent him living a more fulfilling life.


Self-help for depression-

  • Turn to friends and family members who make you feel loved and cared for

  • Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it.

  • Join a support group for depression

  • Deal with the life event

  • Deal with the life non-event

  • Change the surroundings

  • Take a holiday

  • Talk to someone

  • Take regular exercise

  • Eat regularly

  • Do things you enjoy.

The results of self-help with treatment always make the outcome better as it leads to personal growth apart from being therapeutic.


‘WPA Public Education Initiative’ 

Dr. Avdesh Sharma, International Lead, WPA; Consultant Psychiatrist, India
Dr. Sujatha Sharma, Consultant Psychologist, India
Stefanie Radford, Senior Project Manager, United Kingdom
Rajeev Verma, Administrator, India
Pragya Mehra, Media Specialist, India
Jatin Kumar, Media Editor, India

Supported by Unrestricted Educational Grant by SUN Pharma SUN LOGO

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