Depression: What Causes Extreme Sadness and How to Deal With It


Are you always feeling down? Don’t let sadness get in the way of your healthy everyday living. Know what causes depression and how you can effectively deal with it.

Understanding Clinical Depression

Clinical depression is much different from merely feeling sad or blue. For psychologists, a person is diagnosed with having clinical depression if the “sad” mood lasts for at least a period of six months, and is unbearably overwhelming. Other symptoms of depression include weight loss or gain from a marked change in appetite, disturbed sleep levels, changes in physical activities, withdrawal from social interaction, fatigue, feelings of guilt, anxiety or fear, lowered self-esteem, and even ideations of suicide and death.

Clinical depression is a common disorder. About 16% of the population gets diagnosed with this illness, and a person is said to have a major depression at least once in his life. More females than males are diagnosed with this disorder, and the average age of onset is in the late 20s. Depressions have different subtypes; the more common are melancholic depression (less responsive mood, insomnia, and poor appetite), atypical depression (oversleeping, overeating, and leaden paralysis), psychotic depression (with hallucinations), and dysthymia (long-term, mild depression).

Causes of Depression

Depression is traced to many factors. Often, depression is caused by imbalances in neurotransmitters in the brain. Depression is also caused by maladaptive schemas or mindsets by individuals. Major life events such as the death of a spouse or family member, loss of a job, or long-term stress can trigger a major depressive event. Substance abuse (such as alcoholism or drug abuse) can also cause depression.

How to Deal with Depression

Psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals, employ many methods to deal with depression. Anti-depressant medications, for one, are prescribed to patients of clinical depression in order to improve their neurotransmitter levels, and also their reuptake.

Psychotherapy is also used to improve mood. Cognitive schemas are also examined, and changed, in order to introduce more adaptive behavior. The stress associated with major life events are also cushioned through therapy.

Electroconvulsive therapy is also prescribed when medications and psychotherapies fail.

Additionally, any activity that helps relieve stress to patients is advised, including chiropractic care, massage therapy, exercises, spending time with friends and family, playing with children or pets, and similar activities.