Depression – the basics

Depression is one of the best understood mental health disorders. Importantly, it is not the same as being sad when you’re having a bad day.

Depression is a mood disorder and everyone experiences it differently. It can commonly be described as a feeling of emptiness, overwhelming sadness, or loss that interferes with one’s daily tasks. According to the world health organization, depression is relatively common, with “more than 264 million people of all ages suffering from depression.”

The most common types of depression include

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder
  • Manic depression
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD
  • ‘Situational’ Depression


Depression often affects:

  • Mood, such as increased irritability, anger, anxiousness, etc
  • Emotional well-being, such as feeling sad or empty, anxious, hopeless, or incompetent
  • Behavior, such as loss of interest in activities, feeling tired, use of substances, and even thoughts of suicide
  • Cognitive abilities, such as inability to concentrate, thinking and talking more slowly, declining in school performance, etc
  • Sexual interest, such as reduced sexual drive
  • Sleep patterns, such as insomnia, sleeping too much, difficulty sleeping, etc
  • Physical well-being, such as loss of energy, significant fatigue, changes in appetite, etc


Common causes of clinical depression are 

  • Stressful events – such as bereavement or a relationship breakdown,
  • Personality – low self-esteem or being overly self-critical may make you more vulnerable to depression.
  • Family history – There’s a higher risk of developing depression if one or more of your immediate family members have suffered from depression in the past 
  • Loneliness – caused by being isolated by your friends or family 
  • Substance abuse – the use of drugs and alcohol is often used as a coping method and usually ends in a spiral of depression
  • Chemical or hormonal imbalances 


Common treatments of depression include:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Light therapy
  • Alternative therapies
  • Supplements
  • Essential oils
  • Vitamins

Depression can be temporary or long-term. It is a struggle that inhibits one from doing normal day-to-day activities such as waking up in the morning. Although depression sometimes can not be eradicated, symptoms can be managed, improving the quality of life of those who deal with it every day.

If you think you could be struggling with depression, reach out to someone and get the help that you need. And if you ever feel alone, know that there is someone in the same boat as you. 

Switzerland Suicide Hotline: 143

National emergency number: 112