Depression is not simply feeling low or sad. It is a genuine mental health concern that can be triggered by several causes. While sadness can be brief, depression will persist for at least two weeks or more. When depression persists, it may become a serious health condition and hamper an individual’s ability to function in many areas of life, including work and relationships.

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Psychological Symptoms
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Persistent anxiousness or ‘empty’ feelings
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Having a hard time concentrating
  • Difficulty in recalling details
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities or hobbies
  • Restlessness, agitation, irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts
Physical Symptoms
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Overeating/weight gain and loss of appetite/weight loss

Causes of Depression


Depression is associated with changes in brain function, and alterations in neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Alcohol and substance abuse

Excessive consumption of alcohol or other substances can trigger or worsen depression.


Women are about twice as likely as men to develop depression and are especially prone to depressive disorders around the time of their menstrual period, during pregnancy, post childbirth, and perimenopause.

Adverse medical conditions

A person may be more likely to experience symptoms of depression if they have a longstanding or life-threatening illness (such as coronary heart disease or cancer), sleep disorder, thyroid issue, or hormonal disorders.


A range of events, situations or incidents can trigger depression. Some common examples are death of a loved one; close association with a sick relative; abuse or neglect as a child; divorce or marital problems; loss of a job; financial problems; moving to another city; social isolation; discrimination. Events need not be negative in nature to cause distress. Even positive events such as getting married or having a baby may lead to a depressive episode.


While genetic factors play a role in the vulnerability of a person to depression, they are not the only cause. Depression is triggered by a combination of genetics and external factors.


  • Seek professional help as soon as possible.
  • Engage in regular physical exercise or activities that can help enhance your mood.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself by breaking down large tasks into smaller ones.
  • Try not to isolate yourself and spend time with a trusted friend or family member.
  • Increase your awareness about the illness by learning from trusted sources.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually and not immediately.


  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement.
  • Listen without judging the person.
  • Never dismiss the individual’s feelings or undermine what they are going through.
  • If references to suicide or self-harm are made, reach out to a mental health professional immediately.
  • Ensure the person is not left alone as far as possible.
  • Urge the person to seek professional support. Remind them that with time and professional help depression can be overcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

Know more about the conditions that can and might co-exist with depression.



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