Am I Depressed? What is Depression?
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Am I Depressed? What is Depression?


Learn about the causes and solutions to Major Depressive Disorder and other depressive states.

Equipped with this knowledge, you will be able to better understand and treat your depression.

Chances are you have heard someone, at some point in your life, express that they are feeling depressed. Although depression is a common term, it can be unclear what this diagnosis entails and how to determine whether you or a loved one is, in fact, depressed.

Education and understanding of warning signs and treatment can make experiencing or witnessing depression less overwhelming.


What is Depression?

Depression is a mental illness that can impact how you feel, think and act. Depression can cause difficulty in various aspects of a person’s life. Depressive symptoms can vary from mild to severe and often include:

  • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy or increased fatigue
  • Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech 
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide



It is normal to feel down or sad from time to time. However, if someone is experiencing these symptoms for two weeks or more, they should consider consulting with a mental health professional.


According to the American Psychological Association and the Journal of the American Medical Association, Depression affects roughly one in 15 adults. It is one of the most common mental disorders. It has been estimated that one in six people will experience depression at some time in their life. 


Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.


Depression can also be a symptom of another mental illness, including Bipolar Disorder. 


What is the real cause of Depression?


There is no one cause of depression. Instead, there can be various events, experiences, or biological causes to depression. It is important to work with a trained psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, therapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or social worker to identify the causes to your depression.


How do you treat depression?


Studies from the National Institute of Mental Health have shown that the most effective treatment for depression, especially for severe depression, is a combination of medication and psychotherapy


The good news is that people with depression have a variety of options to choose from.


Psychotherapy approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Systemic Therapies, along with many more. Various therapeutic approaches have shown to be equally effective in treating depression.


Your primary care doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe medications to relieve symptoms. 


Depression is not a “one-size fits all” diagnosis. It comes in many different forms.

For clients that are dealing with severe forms of clinical depression, including manic depression and psychotic depression, they may be best served by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). 


Am I depressed


What are the Different Types of Depression?


Information provided by the American Psychiatric Association outlines the various subtypes of depression. These include:

Anxious distress — depression with unusual restlessness or worry about possible events or loss of control

Mixed features — simultaneous depression and mania, which includes elevated self-esteem, talking too much and increased energy

Melancholic features — severe depression with lack of response to something that used to bring pleasure and associated with early morning awakening, worsened mood in the morning, major changes in appetite, and feelings of guilt, agitation or sluggishness

Atypical features — depression that includes the ability to temporarily be cheered by happy events, increased appetite, excessive need for sleep, sensitivity to rejection, and a heavy feeling in the arms or legs

Psychotic features — depression accompanied by delusions or hallucinations, which may involve personal inadequacy or other negative themes

Catatonia — depression that includes motor activity that involves either uncontrollable and purposeless movement or fixed and inflexible posture

Peripartum onset — depression that occurs during pregnancy or in the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum)

Seasonal pattern — depression related to changes in seasons and reduced exposure to sunlight. This is often referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder.



Can one become hospitalized for depression?


If you have severe depression, you may need a hospital stay, or you may need to participate in an outpatient treatment program until your symptoms improve. 



How Can I Help a Loved One who is feeling depressed?


It can be difficult to watch a loved one struggle with depression. People often feel powerless and uncertain. There are a variety of organizations dedicated to offering information and resources to combat depression.  


You can look online for mental health professionals; contact your community health center, local mental health association, or insurance plan to find a mental health professional. 


Hospital doctors can help in an emergency.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, get help quickly.

  • Call 911 for emergency services.
  • Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TYY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) 

Other resources for finding assistance with depression include: 

Psychology Today, allows you to browse and search profiles of verified Therapists in Minnesota. 


The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) webpage, offers an array of resources. Another Federal health agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), maintains an online Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator at 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also provides information about treating depression.


Other helpful tips on how to reduce symptoms if you are experiencing depression:

  • Exercise.
  • Set achievable goals for yourself.
  • Spend time socializing and engaging with others.
  • Be patient with yourself. Depression improves gradually, not immediately.
  • Do not make life-altering decisions until you feel better. 
  • Continue to learn more about depression and how it impacts you.

If you would like to read more about related topics, consider reading related articles on Midlife Crisis, Depression, and Grief.


If you would like to learn more about Depression Medication, click here.


If you would like to find a therapist specializing in Depression, or would like to learn more about Counseling, Contact us Directly.




Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. We publish quality material for your own education. Our publications are researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.




Written and reviewed by

Dr Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, ACS, LMFT

Dr. Kyle Zrenchik is the Co-Founder of ALL IN, the Creator of the Couples Erotic Flow model for treating sexual issues in individuals and couples, Designer of the Deep Dive programs at ALL IN, and is one of the most well-respected couples counselors in the Twin Cities.


  1. Depression In Men says:

    Informative post, this is. It is always nice to come across a post that is useful.

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