Overview

What is Depression and Depressive Disorders?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn't worth living.

Major depressive disorder, is the main type of depressive disorder. When episodes of major depression are chronic and recurring, the condition is called persistent depressive disorder. Other types of depressive disorders include premenstrual depressive disorder, substance- or medication-induced depressive disorder, and depressive disorder due to another medical condition.

Symptoms

What are the signs of Depression and Depressive Disorders?

Depression can be more than a constant state of sadness or feeling “blue.” Major depression can cause a variety of symptoms. Some affect your mood, and others affect your body.These may include:

Avoidance behaviour

Avoidance behaviour

Feeling unmotivated or lacking confidence

Feeling unmotivated or lacking confidence

Feeling overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, restless,  angry or worthless

Feeling overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, restless, angry or worthless

Suicidal thoughts/tendencies

Suicidal thoughts/tendencies

Inability to concentrate

Inability to concentrate

Withdrawal from family and friends

Withdrawal from family and friends

Fatigue

Fatigue

Reduced libido

Reduced libido

Insomnia

Insomnia

Excessive sleepiness

Excessive sleepiness

Loss of appetite

Loss of appetite

Headaches and muscle pains

Headaches and muscle pains

Digestive problems

Digestive problems

Significant weight loss or gain

Significant weight loss or gain

Dependence on alcohol and sedatives

Dependence on alcohol and sedatives

Causes

What are the causes of Depression and Depressive Disorders?

There are several possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial.

Common causes include:

Family history of depression or mood disorder

Family history of depression or mood disorder

Early childhood trauma

Early childhood trauma

Brain structure - greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active

Brain structure - greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active

Medical conditions - such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit

Medical conditions - such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit

Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Drug use - a history of drug or alcohol misuse

Drug use - a history of drug or alcohol misuse

Gender — women are at higher risk than men

Gender — women are at higher risk than men

Age — adolescents and young adults are more likely to develop depression than older adults,

Age — adolescents and young adults are more likely to develop depression than older adults,

Adverse life events, such as unemployment, financial hardship, divorce, grief and loss

Adverse life events, such as unemployment, financial hardship, divorce, grief and loss

Chronic or severe stress

Chronic or severe stress

Loneliness/isolation

Loneliness/isolation

Sleep disorders, including sleep apnoea

Sleep disorders, including sleep apnoea

Other psychiatric disorders, such as substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Other psychiatric disorders, such as substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Diagnosis

How do I know if I have Depression and Depressive Disorders?

Diagnosing depression and major depressive disorder involves screening through careful history-taking to identify risk factors, ruling out other causes for depressive symptoms, and the use of diagnostic surveys, usually performed by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Additional tests that may assist the process include:

Neurotransmitter Profile

Neurotransmitter Profile

Stress hormone profile

Stress hormone profile

Find a Practitioner

See a list of practitioners who are specialised in treating Depression and Depressive Disorders.