What is Depression?

Depression or major depressive disorder is a condition in which a person will experience a marked decrease in mood or loss of interest or pleasure for a period of 2 weeks or longer. It is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. It can lead to several physical and emotional problems. Depression is more than just a bout of sadness, otherwise known as, “the blues”. People with depression cannot simply snap out of their low mood.


The prevalence for depression in the general population is around 7%. The prevalence in 18-29 year-olds increases up to 3x more than the general population. Females experience depression around 1.5 to 3x more than males and it typically begins in early adolescence.

Signs and Symptoms

In children the main symptom may be irritability instead of depressed mood. It may appear at any age, however puberty is a common starting point in adolescents. People with depression will experience low mood most of the day and every day, will lose significant weight or gain significant weight, will have trouble sleeping or will oversleep, will seem restless or be extremely slowed down, will feel tired or have a loss of energy every day, will experience feelings of worthlessness or guilt, may have difficulty concentrating or making decisions, and may have recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.


Typically a general practitioner can prescribe medication if they suspect their patient is depressed. A combination of medication and psychotherapy can help people with depression significantly. In cases of severe depression a hospital stay may be necessary. This will be helpful for people who cannot take care of themselves or are in danger of harming themselves or others. Visits to a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or other mental health professional is incredibly beneficial. Medications typically include antidepressants, of which there are several a doctor may try. Many types of psychotherapy are helpful for depression including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), art therapy, drama therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and others.



The DSM-5 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5

The Mayo Clinic: Mayoclinic.org

Video resource: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IUkw23paUk