Mental Health

What Is a Simple Definition of Depression?

what is a simple definition of depression Posted On
Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

“I have seen perfectly normal-looking people abandoning life; everyone starts to say how they were so loaded with life as if depression is some virus that should make you look like you will be dead in a jiffy.”

Did you know that according to the National Mental Health Association, depressive disorder influences more than 19 million Americans? It is a common illness that can be dealt with. However, a shocking fact is that less than half of the affected people look for the assistance they need. This incongruence between what has to be done and what is done occurs because many people are unaware of depression.

Definition of Depression

definition of depression worried

Depression is tough to define and characterize. All individuals will refer to it differently with their own impressions and wording. Some people may believe that an individual who is always miserable and has a horrendous mentality will make him prone to experience depression. So they would be stunned to hear that the individual who has a positive attitude towards life and is apparently glad commits suicide, and the individual with a bad state of mind is still around.

Depression is tough to analyze, as there is not a one fits it all definition. There is a stigma around it. Hence, people tend to hide their real feelings, and the way those feelings are experienced tend to be different for every individual.

Depression is a condition of melancholic temperament and idleness. It can influence an individual’s contemplation, conduct, inspiration, sentiments, health, and wellbeing. It might highlight sad feelings, trouble in social contact and focus, disturbed sleep, appetite, and energy levels, making the individual unable to feel pleasure in typically enjoyable activities (1). Individuals suffering from a depressive disorder may have feelings of despair, sadness, and, some of the time, self-destructive contemplation. It can last for months to years, and even for a lifetime (2).

Having a low mood, feeling down, or feeling blue is an individual’s normal and transitory response to unpleasant events throughout everyday life. These can be stressful events (3), loss of a friend or family member, physical or sexual abuse (4), or financial issues. If these negative feelings last for more than two weeks, we can suspect depression. Depression can also result from a medical condition, drug abuse, hormone imbalance, or personality disorders. 

Clinical Depression

definition of depression sadness

Clinical depression is a genuine mental issue. Individuals found to have this disorder will experience difficulties keeping up with their job, relationship, and even hygiene. They will always see the glass half empty. However, this old adage adequately describes the individuals who suffer from this illness’s severe effects.

An individual who is clinically depressed can’t merely “wake up and get out of it,” although they know the real factors that caused this depression and that you may have attempted to prevail upon them to emerge out of it. An irregularity in their brain’s chemicals may bring about this condition. A depressive disorder is a disease, much the same as diabetes is a disease. It doesn’t merely vanish if not action is taken.

Empathy and Depression

empathy and depression shy smile

Attempting to force an individual with depression out of his depressive state may make him feel significantly more futile, humiliated, and useless. It may push him even more towards self-destruction and suicide. You also have to remember that depression is not gender-specific, so please don’t tell someone “to man up” this would show a lack of empathy and make you look like a sexist.

It is critical to understand depression, to have the ability to define depression, and be ready for those experiencing depression or anxiety. This comprehension is vital to ensure the patients get early assistance, empathy, and guidance from relatives or friends. This assistance is crucial to ensure that everything will be done for the patient to be adequately treated.  Depression is treatable, so do not permit it to stay untreated. Everybody experiences depression occasionally; however, it must be immediately diagnosed and treated when it becomes major.

  1. Gilbert, Paul (2007). Psychotherapy and counseling for depression (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE. ISBN 9781849203494. OCLC 436076587.
  2. de Zwart PL, Jeronimus BF, de Jonge P, et al.(October 2019). “Empirical evidence for definitions of episode, remission, recovery, relapse, and recurrence in depression: a systematic review”. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences28 (5):544-562. doi:10.1017/S2045796018000227PMID29769159.
  3. Heim C, Newport DJ, Mletzko T, Miller AH, Nemeroff CB (July 2008). “The link between childhood trauma and depression: insights from HPA axis studies in humans”. Psychoneuroendocrinology33 (6): 693–710. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2008.03.00818602762.
  4. Lindert J, von Ehrenstein OS, Grashow R, Gal G, Braehler E, Weisskopf MG (April 2014). “Sexual and physical abuse in childhood is associated with depression and anxiety over the life course: systematic review and meta-analysis”. International Journal of Public Health59 (2): 359–72. doi:10.1007/s00038-013-0519-524122075.

Jama Psychiatry, Maurice Lorr PhD: Towards a Definition of Depression Depression Definition and DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria What is the Definition of Depression? Definition of Depression

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