Blog: “What is Depression?”


  • What is Depression?
  • Causes of Depression
  • Visual Symptoms
  • Hidden Symptoms
  • Coming Up …

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

What is Depression?

There are many different types of depression, with some being more common than others. In this brief overview, we will touch on two of the more common types of depression: clinical depression and persistent depressive disorder.

You may find it beneficial to read up on depression, its causes and the associated symptoms. Having an understanding of depression can make coping easier for you or can be beneficial to helping those around you that are struggling. Please remember that this information is not intended as medical advice – if you or someone you know are struggling, please seek help from a medical professional.

Clinical Depression is a common term generally used to describe Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

MDD is diagnosed when a majority of the symptoms are experienced together for a duration of more than two weeks.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD) refers to a type of ‘chronic’ depression where the symptoms are present for more days than they are not, over a period of more than two years. PDD can present itself from mild to severe and it is relatively common for people experiencing the disorder to feel generally ‘ok’ within themselves for short periods of time but this relief of symptoms usually lasts less than two months at a time

“The strange thing was that after all these years of living with it, I didn’t know very much about depression. I thought it was entirely a problem of depressed mood and loss of the energy and motivation. As things got worse, I finally started to read about it in great depth. I was amazed to learn the full scope of depression and how pervasive it could be throughout the mind and body. I finally had a coherent, comprehensive picture of what depression was”

Causes of Depression

There are many different causes that can bring on depression. Most causes will fall into one of these categories:

  • Past or present situations
  • Such as abuse, bullying, grief and loss or trauma
  • Cognitive
  • Includes low self esteem and self worth as well as body image issues
  • Biological
  • Factors such as hormones, genetics and chemical imbalances
  • Spiritual
  • A lack of fulfilment, existential crisis or conflicting values and beliefs can be contributing factors to depression.
  • Lifestyle

Events we can experience in everyday life such as overworking, financial struggles and life transitions are examples of lifestyle factors which can trigger depression.

“I had my first episode of major depressive disorder in 2005 at the age of forty-one. I had been under a tremendous amount of stress, having just gone through a divorce. I was also going to grad school while simultaneously working full time and raising two young daughters. I wasn’t sleeping well and had been feeling increasingly anxious and sad”

Some causes of depression are more common than others. Research also exists to suggest that it is more likely that a few different factors together are what trigger depression, rather than one single cause.

Some of the most commonly referenced causes include stress, jealousy, worries about money, family and relationship struggles, catastrophisation, poor nutrition and guilt.

Other mental and physical health concerns can also be a factor making you more vulnerable to suffering from depression. For example, suffering from anxiety, eating problems or PTSD may make you more likely to suffer from depression. Other physical illnesses such as a life-threatening condition or chronic physical health problems can also be a factor.

Visual Symptoms

Depression takes its toll on the body in many different ways. Some of these symptoms are visual such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty or Excessive sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Poor self care
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation

Hidden Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of depression are non visual and can be more difficult for others to notice such as:

  • Lower libido
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insomnia
  • Weak immune system
  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • Body exhaustion
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Persistant sadness
  • Memory troubles
  • Strained blood vessels

Coming Up…

Our Reading List

A list of recommended readings to give you a deeper insight into depression. Includes books, self-help guides and introductions to therapies. This list will provide reviews and useful information to help guide you in your research and inspire you to read further.

Coping with Depression

A short overview compiling recommended methods for coping with depression.

How to help someone with Depression

A guide to helping those around you. It can be difficult to know how to help people around you that suffer with depression. This guide provides things to look out for as well as tips on how to help.

Depression UK

Support for those affected by or at risk from depression.