Depression Overview

Health Window logoWHAT IS DEPRESSION?

Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), is a mood disorder that causes an ongoing feeling of sadness and generally feeling low. 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 daily activities, and sometimes you may feel extremely hopeless.

MDD is a clinical diagnosis and it is more than just feeling the blue. Depression isn't a weakness, and you can't simply "snap out" of it. It is a chemical imbalance within the brain that causes the symptoms.

Depression is a chronic disease and will require long-term treatment. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both. It is treatable and you can regain your quality of life.

Speak to your doctor if you are not coping and need some assistance.


  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy - even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide


Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

Reference: Rakel RE. Depression. Prim Care. 1999 Jun;26(2):211-24.

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