Depression: causes, symptoms, types, treatment

Depression is actually a syndrome of mental disorders that affects the mood. Symptoms of depression can be divided into several groups – depressed mood, anxiety, reduced pace of action and thinking, and in some cases also somatic symptoms. The causes of depression are not completely extinguished. There are only factors that can stimulate its formation. These include psychological, social and genetic factors, but also viral infections or changes in brain structure.


Table of Contents


What is depression?

What is depression? It would seem that everyone can calculate the symptoms of depression – sadness, depression, unwillingness to act, but after all we all feel this way from time to time. It does not mean that each of us has depression. Depression is not a figment and justification for laziness, an escape from problems. This is a serious disease that requires proper treatment. However, you have to diagnose depression earlier.


Depression is characterized by worsening symptoms and prolonged periods of their persistence (at least two weeks). Anxiety should arouse not only depression, but the fact that it lasts a long time and changes our functioning, disorganizes everyday life. Sadness in depression does not appear from time to time, but it constantly accompanies us and begins to change us fundamentally. Professor Antoni Kępiński called it “a hell of a lifetime”.


Professor Antoni Kepinski (1918-1972) is an outstanding psychiatrist, author of well-known books on depression, neurosis and schizophrenia, including: “Rhythm of life”, “Anxiety”, “Melancholy”, “Schizophrenia”, “Basic issues of modern psychiatry “,” Getting to know the patient “,” Psychopatie “. Information about depression can be found mainly in “Melancholy” – the title is a former name of this disease, used by doctors until the second half of the nineteenth century.


Professor Kepinski wrote that depression is a sadness that comes without a specific cause – there is a decline in the dynamics of life, there are difficulties with thinking, and the subject of our thoughts begins to be poor. Ambitions, successes or rivalry cease to matter.


Disturbing sleep is characteristic – if the patient can not fall asleep in neurotic disorders, he falls asleep quickly in depression, but then wakes up early in the morning. Kępiński used the concept of information metabolism, meaning the exchange of information between a man and his environment. In depression, the information metabolism is, in his opinion, considerably limited.

Depression – causes 

Although the causes of depression are not fully understood, it can be divided into endogenous and exogenous depression. Endogenous depression is biologically conditioned, it may result from the occurrence of disorders, for example in the production of neurotransmitters (such as noradrenaline or serotonin). An important role is also played by genetic factors, which are not the direct cause of depression, but can affect an easier illness (the risk of developing depression increases when the disease occurred in other family members).


Reactive (exogenous) depression is psychologically conditioned, it may be associated with the occurrence of a stressful life event (for example, severe illness, divorce, loss of a loved one). Depression can also be associated with somatic diseases (eg diabetes, hypertension) and neurological. Drugs and psychoactive substances may also affect the occurrence of depression. Very often, depression is the effect of biological and psychological factors at the same time.

Depression – symptoms

Depression grows slowly and imperceptibly. Gradually the mood decreases, the person becomes apathetic, passive, does not want to do any kind of activity, he most often stays away from other people, seeks loneliness, closes in himself. Sadness can not dispel relatives or positive events in the patient’s life. What has so far brought the patient pleasure, for example, the pursuit of their interests, is not interested in him anymore.

In severe depression, the patient is convinced that there are no prospects ahead of him, that the current situation can not be changed, delusional delusions, self-blame, irritation and aggression. Man is convinced that everything that is bad, happens through him, exaggerates problems. He negatively assesses himself, his achievements and views for the future. Negative thoughts are very persistent and you can not get rid of them. In this state, the risk of a suicide attempt increases very much.


Symptoms of somatic (bodily) depression include:

sleep disorders, insomnia or too much sleep),

problems with appetite (it is excessive or weakened),

weight loss or increase,

menstrual disorders,


dry mouth,

drop in libido,


Not every drop in mood or worse mood means depression. To make such a diagnosis, it is necessary to have specific symptoms for a long time (minimum 2 weeks). In addition to the time criterion, other conditions must also be met:

at least two of this group:

depressive mood (permanently feeling unwell)

loss of interest and experiencing pleasure

increased fatigue

a minimum of two of this group:

weakness of concentration and attention

low self-esteem and low self-confidence

guilt and low value, pessimistic

black vision of the future

thoughts and suicidal acts

sleep disorders, reduced appetite

The symptoms of depression, in contrast to the psychic “hole”, last for a long time. Patients suffering from depression are unable to find relief. They feel unreasonable fear and fear, they have suicidal thoughts. There is no way to improve their mood.

 Depression – types

Depression also has different symptoms depending on its type. Due to the causes, symptoms and course of the disease, several types of depression can be distinguished.

Types of depression – dysthymia

Types of depression – seasonal depression

Types of depression – postpartum depression

Types of depression – bipolar disorder

Types of depression – depression with inhibition

Types of depression – depressive post-depressive disorder

Types of depression – delusional depression and anxiety

Types of depression – atypical depression

Types of depression – division by age


Depression – treatment

In the treatment of depression, pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy are used. Antidepressants affect the level of serotonin or noradrenaline in the blood. These can be non-selective inhibitors of noradrenaline and serotonin reuptake, otherwise also known as tricyclic antidepressants, selective noradrenaline and serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. The effects are obtained after a few weeks.

Starting from drugs with the longest appearance of the result of taking to the new generation of drugs with a minimum of side effects, medicines for depression can be represented as the following classification:

tricyclic – Amitriptyline, Anafranil, Elavil

serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors- Cymbalta

norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors –Bupropion, Wellbutrin, Zyban

monoamine oxidase inhibitors –Lithium

selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa


Psychotherapy is usually used simultaneously with antidepressants. Types of psychotherapy effective in treating depression are:

cognitive-behavioral therapy,

psychodynamic therapy,

interpersonal therapy.


Phototherapy, i.e. light therapy, is also a method supporting the treatment of depression. It is effective especially in cases of seasonal depression, occurring when the sun is lacking. A psychiatrist may also recommend hospital treatment, although patients often give up on it. In deep depression, however, it is the best, because the patient is then provided with constant care and supervision in the event of a suicide attempt. In the case of atypical and drug-resistant depression, healing electroshocks are also used.


According to a study by the World Health Organization, depression is one of the most serious health problems in the world. It is estimated that approximately 10% of the population suffers from depression. In addition, it is estimated that the problem of depression will constantly increase. There is no rule that will check the risk of depression. Additionally, taking into account the suffering that the patient is struggling with, it is important to pay special attention to the symptoms described above, because the effects of depression can be very serious.

Have any Question or Comment?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *