Overcome Depression (2009) defined depression as:
'Depression is a mental health condition that affects the way a person functions thinks, sleeps, eats and feels about him or herself. Depression is more than just a fleeting low mood that soon picks up'
The United Kingdom Depression Alliance (2009) defined depression as:
'Depression is a feeling of persistent sadness, involving feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It involves not only mood but also feelings of being physically ill and of not being able to think clearly'.
The negative emotions of depression can be different for everyone and for that reason, the depression condition is difficult to define. The definition of depression also varies depending on the type of depression, and the degree and severity of the condition. Depression is not just 'having a bad day' and feeling down or sad for a short period of time over an unfortunate event or occurrence. Everyone has bad days, no one can be 100% happy all of the time. Depression is when these negative emotions and feelings of sadness and hopelessness last for an extended period of time and interfere with your daily life. These types of emotions can last for weeks or months and dominate a person's life, affecting their home, work, social and personal lives.
Depression is an illness that takes control of a person's thoughts, emotions, feelings and moods. It will ultimately affect a person's health and behavior and impact on their ability to function and lead a happy and healthy life. Depression is not a sign of weakness or failure, it is a serious medical condition that without proper treatment, management and care is outside the control of the sufferer.
The feelings and emotions associated with depression are caused by a chemical change that affects how the brain functions and transmit signals to your body. These body chemicals are responsible for our emotional state and depression occurs when these chemical messages are not delivered correctly between brain cells (Depression.com, 2009). This results in a disruption of communication and the onset of negative emotions. People who are depressed have a lower level of certain types of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, than people who are not (NHS, 2009). For this reason, depression is not simply something that you can snap out of or change overnight. Depression is a serious illness that requires treatment and management over time.
Depression can not be willed away. It is a serious medical condition that requires proper medical treatment and management
Overcome Depression, UK
People often do not realise how depressed they are, especially if they have been feeling the same for a long time, if they have been trying to cope with their depression by keeping themselves busy, or if their depressive symptoms are more physical than emotional (Depression Alliance, 2007). It is therefore important to understand the triggers, causes and symptoms of depression to really understand and be able to identify the condition in yourself and others.
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