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What is Depression?


Clinical Depression is an illness, a medical condition. It significantly affects the way someone feels, causing a persistent lowering of mood. Depression is often accompanied by a range of other physical and psychological symptoms that can interfere with the way a person is able to function in their everyday life. The symptoms of Depression generally react positively to treatment.



What are the symptoms of Depression?


Depression has a variety of symptoms and will affect everyone in different ways. Symptoms include:

  • Feeling extremely sad or tearful.

  • Disturbances to normal sleep patterns.

  • Loss of interest and motivation.

  • Feeling worthless or guilty.

  • Loss of pleasure in activities.

  • Anxiety.

  • Changes in appetite or weight.

  • Loss of sexual interest.

  • Physical aches and pains.

  • Impaired thinking or concentration.




What causes Depression?


There are a number of possible causes of Depression. Some people have a genetic predisposition to Depression, which can then be triggered by a stressful situation in life, or:

  • Depression can be a reaction to a distressing situation like loss or stress (reactive depression). Some women experience depression following the birth of a child (post-natal depression).

  • Depression can be part of an illness like bipolar disorder in which the person experiences extreme moods without any reason – very high and very excited or very low and depressed.

  • Depression can sometimes occur without any obvious stress to trigger it. Sometimes the person may be affected so much that they experience the symptoms of psychosis and are unable to distinguish what is real.

  • Children and teenagers can also become depressed. This can show itself in different ways to Depression in adults, and they are best helped by a doctor who is a specialist in this area.




How many people are affected by Depression?


Every year, around 6% of all adult Australians are affected by a depressive illness.




How is Depression treated?


Treatment can do much to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms of Depression. Treatment may include a combination of psychological therapy, medication, and community support. In severe cases where other treatments do not help, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be helpful too.

  • Individual therapy. A doctor, psychologist, or other health professional talks with the person about their symptoms, and discusses alternative ways of thinking about and managing them. 

  • Medication. Antidepressant medications may also help control the symptoms of Depression.

  • Community support programs. This support should include information; accommodation; help with finding suitable work; training and education; psychosocial rehabilitation and mutual support groups. Understanding and acceptance by the community is also very important.


The above information has been reproduced with the kind permission of SANE Australia. You can access the host content by clicking here


What are the different types of Depression?(3)


There are different types of depression:

  • Non-melancholic depression (approx. 90%)

  • Melancholic depression (approx. 10%)

  • Psychotic depression (<1%)




  1. SANE Australia, (2015) Depression                                                                                                      Available from: (accessed on 24/11/2015)

  2. beyondblue (2015) Depression - What is depression                                                                              Available from: (accessed on 24/11/2015)

  3. Black Dog Institute (2015) Depression explained                                                                                Available from: (accessed on 24/11/2015)




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