It takes courage to go to a professional about your mental health issues, even today. While much development has been made on educating the public about mental illness, there’s still a common stigma in society that depression is not as serious as other illnesses, and that many of the symptoms presented by people with depression are character weaknesses rather than a part of the condition.
This stigma makes it difficult to establish the many teens and adults who fight with depressive symptoms to come forward and seek help. Efficient and timely treatments for depression are not always covered by health providers.
These factors all come together to highlight a serious problem: depression, like many other mental illnesses, is acknowledged yet often left untreated, partly due to lack of support and partly due to bias and disregard.
Depression Is So Much More Than Sadness
To make a statement for why depression requires just as much care as any other physical health condition, it’s important to learn what depression is, and how it changes daily life.
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental illness identified by a long period of gloom with several social and psychiatric factors. The primary means of diagnosing someone with depression is the regularity and duration of their low mood.
Depression can often be one of several illnesses, caused by mental problems, or it could be a condition all on its own.
Some people respond to therapy alone, yet most with the major depressive disorder do not. This is because the transformation for depression is more complex and not simply environmental.
Eliminating stress or training better-coping habits isn’t enough to make symptoms go away.
The resulting symptoms of a depressive disorder range from prolonged sadness to hyperalgesia, anhedonia, lack of focus or concentration, inability to perform at work, irritability, memory issues, high anxiety, and more.
How Depression Takes Over Your Life
While high stress is one of the factors that trigger depressive episodes, depression itself doesn’t need any triggers. It can exist separate from any external stimuli.
It occurs completely within the brain, as a result of differences in the way the brain perceives and processes certain chemicals and signals in comparison to others.
These brain differences occur in the limbic system and essentially lead to faulty mood regulation. While not single-handedly at liability for all depressive cases, they account for a good piece of the pie of factors in most cases of major depressive disorder. This is why simply feeling better is not an option for someone with ‘clinical depression.
Think About It
If the brain is a computer, then depression is both a hardware and software issue. Internal and external parts determine how and why a person is depressed, and treatment requires that both are addressed. The widespread symptoms of depression (including physical ones such as unexplained pain) are a result of how depression is a complex disorder that involves faulty neurotransmission, problems with hormone control, and other relatively little differences that influence the bigger picture and greatly distort a person’s mood.
Sometimes, these changes are a major genetic issue. Sometimes, they occur due to recurring or early trauma. Most times, it’s a unique combination of both.