Depressive disorder (depression)


Key Facts

  • Depression is one of the most common mental disorders.
  • Worldwide, 5% of adults are estimated to be depressed.
  • Depression affects more women than men.
  • Suicide can be caused by depression.
  • Treatment is available for mild, moderate, and severe depression.

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The common mental disorder known as depressive disorder is also called depression. A depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities over a long period of time are the main symptoms.

Depression is not the same as mood swings and everyday feelings. It can affect every aspect of your life, such as relationships with friends, family, and the community. Problems at school or at work can cause it.

Anyone can develop depression. Depression is more common in people who have experienced abuse, loss, or other stressful situations. Women are more susceptible to depression than men.

Estimates show that 3.8% of people suffer from depression. This includes 5% of adults, 4% of men, and 6% of women. 5.7% of those over 60 are affected. Around 280,000,000 people suffer from depression (1). Women are 50% more likely to suffer from depression than men. More than 10% of women worldwide who are pregnant or have recently given birth suffer from depression (2). Every year, more than 700,000 suicides occur. Suicide is the fourth-leading cause of death for 15- to 29-yyear-olds.

Despite the fact that there are effective treatments for mental disorders, over 75% of those in countries with low and middle incomes do not receive any treatment (3). The lack of mental health investment, the lack of qualified health-care professionals, and the social stigma surrounding mental disorders are all barriers to effective care.


During a depressive episode, a person experiences a depressed mood (feeling sad, irritable, or empty). The person may lose interest in or pleasure in their activities.

Depressive episodes are different from mood swings. The episodes last for two weeks, lasting most of the day.

Other symptoms may also be present. These include:

  • poor concentration
  • Feelings of guilt or low self-worth
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Sleep disruption
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Feeling tired or lacking energy?

Depression can affect all aspects of your life, including at work, home, and school.

The severity and number of symptoms, as well as their impact on an individual’s functioning, can determine whether a depressive episode is mild, moderate, or severe.

Depressive episodes can take many forms, including:

  • A single-episode depressive disorder is the first episode of depression that a person has ever experienced.
  • Recurrent depression is characterized by at least two episodes of depression in a person’s past.
  • Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of depression that alternate with periods of manic symptoms. These include increased energy or activity, euphoria, or racing thoughts. Other symptoms may include increased talkativeness or irritability.

Factors contributing to and preventing a crime

Depression is the result of a complex interplay between social, psychological, and biological factors. Depression is more common in people who have experienced adverse life events, such as unemployment, the loss of a loved one, or traumatic experiences. Depression can lead to increased stress and dysfunction, which in turn worsen the life of the person affected and the depression.

Physical health is directly related to depression and can affect it. Inactivity and alcohol abuse are known factors in depression. People with these conditions may experience depression as a result of the challenges associated with managing them.

It has been proven that prevention programs reduce depression. School-based programs that promote positive coping patterns in children and teenagers are effective community approaches for preventing depression. Parents of children with behavioral problems can reduce their depressive symptoms and thus improve their child’s outcomes. Exercise programs for older people can be very effective in preventing depression.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Depression can be treated effectively. Psychological treatment and medication are effective treatments for depression. If you are experiencing depression symptoms, seek medical attention.

Depression is treated first with psychological treatments. In moderate to severe depression, they can be combined with antidepressant medication. Mild depression does not require antidepressant medication.

Psychological treatments teach you new ways to think, cope, or relate to others. Talk therapy may be provided by professionals or supervised by lay therapists. You can do talk therapy in person or online. Self-help books, websites, and apps can provide psychological treatments.

Depression can be treated with the following psychological therapies:

  • Behavioral activation
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Psychotherapy for interpersonal problems
  • problem-solving therapy.

Antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like fluoxetine.

The health care provider should consider the potential adverse effects of antidepressant medications, their ability to provide either treatment (in terms of expertise and/or availability), and the individual’s preferences.

Children should not take antidepressants to treat depression. They should also not be the first treatment for adolescents.

Bipolar disorder is treated with different medications and treatments.


Self-care is important for managing depression symptoms and promoting well-being.

What you can do:

  • Try to continue doing the activities that you enjoy.
  • Stay connected with friends and family.
  • Exercise regularly, even just for a short walk.
  • Stick to your regular sleeping and eating habits as much as you can.
  • Avoid or reduce alcohol consumption, and do not use illicit drugs as they can worsen depression.
  • Talk to someone about your feelings.
  • Seek help from a healthcare professional.

If you are thinking of suicide, please contact your doctor immediately.

  • Remember that you are not the only one experiencing this. Many people have experienced similar situations and found support.
  • Talk to someone you can trust about your feelings.
  • Speak to a health professional, such as a counselor or doctor.
  • Join a support group.

Contact any emergency services available or a crisis number if you feel you are at immediate risk of harming yourself.