In this writeup, we will answer the question, “ does everyone get depressed”, signs and symptoms of depression, types of depression, why do people are vulnerable to depression and some FAQ concerning the topic.
Not everyone gets depressed because:
- The difference in the physical and chemical makeup of the brain
- Genetic makeup is different
- Hormonal difference and changes
- Daylight and seasons
- Family and social factors
- Life events and situation
- Learned helplessness
- Personality types
- Schemas and mental set up
Depression is a mental disorder that is classified under Mood Disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. It is a mood disorder where the individual experiences prolonged sadness, lethargic, worthiness, helplessness and melancholic that interferes or hampers their daily functioning.
It is one of the most common and prevalent mental disorder that affect 264 million people from varied age group. And women are more vulnerable and likely to suffer from depression than men.
Sign and Symptoms of Depression
The three noting symptoms of Depression are:
- Fatiguebaility, tiredness and feeling of exhaustion
- Anhedonia, loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Depressed mood or prolonged sadness
Other than the three notable symptoms of Depression, other signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Worthlessness and Helplessness
- Lack of concentration
- Thoughts on ending life
- Difficulty in sleep
- Irritability and Agitation
- Fluctuation in appetite
- Difficulty in decision making.
- Diurnal Mood
- Significant weight loss
- Lost motivation
- Loss of energy
- Recurrent thoughts on death
- Excessive guilt
Classification of Depression
Based on the two major types of depression are Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression and Chronic Depressive Disorder/ Dysthymia.
Apart from these, there are Bi-Polar Disorder and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder.
To be diagnosed with MDD, there should be five depressive symptoms that last for at least 2 weeks. Adding onto that, there should either be a depressed mood or loss of interest. MDD is a periodic or episodic disorder where the symptoms go on and off over time. Along with it, suicide ideation and thought of death are common.
Persistent Depression Disorder, Dysthymia.
One of the essential features of Dysthymia is a depressed mood that lasts throughout the day for at least 2years, in case of children the duration is for 1 year. Along with depressed mood, they should also experience two of the six symptoms (poor appetite, sleep disturbance, low energy, low self-esteem, trouble in concentrating and hopelessness) It has an early and insidious onset. It is twice more common in women than in men.
Two types of Bi-Polar disorder are BP-1 and BP-2. Manic Symptom is the defining feature of the two and the severity of the two differentiate these. Bi-Polar 1 is known as Manic-Depressive Disorder where there is a single episode of mania during their lifetime however, they may or may not have depressive episodes. While Bi-Polar 2 is characterised by hypomanic (a milder version of Manic) episodes with Major Depressive Episodes.
It is also a chronic mood disorder where the proposed symptom (numerous episodes of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms) last for at least 2 years. They experience frequent alternating mild symptoms of Mania and Depression. People with cyclothymic have a high risk of developing Mania and Major Depression.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
It is known by recurrent depressive episodes occurring typically in winter. The severity of the episode ranges from mild to moderate and in the worse case, have the risk of suicide ad well. It is more prevalent in people in the northern part of the world than in summer. The change in melatonin is responsible for this episode, they show more change in melatonin than the rest. SAD symptoms are similar to those of Depression except that it coincides with seasons.
Almost 80% of new mothers are diagnosed with this depression and it follows after 15% of birth. It is a blend of physical, emotional and behavioural changes that a woman undergoes after giving birth. The diagnosis is based on the length of time between their onset and delivery and the severity of depression. Some of the symptoms are difficulty in sleeping, appetite change, fatigue, decreased libido and frequent mood change. It generally begins within the 4 weeks after delivery.
Diagnosis of Depression.
There are different ways through which we can assess depression in an individual. It can be a physical test, psychological test and medical screenings.
Some of the most commonly used tests to assess depressive episode or diagnosis are:
- Patient Health Questionnaire
It is a 9-item questionnaire which is self-administered. It is usually used to screen the severity and diagnosis of Depression.
- Beck Depression Inventory
Beck Depression Inventory is one of the most widely used tests in measuring and studying the symptoms of depression. It taps onto the behavioural and cognitive functioning of an individual. It contains a 21-item self-report inventory that measures the symptoms of depression in an individual with four choices.
- Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression
It is a multiple-choice questionnaire with 17 items. However, it is not suitable for the use of the geriatric population.
Why some people are prone to Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder which needs proper treatment if ever diagnosed because the severity develops when depressed can take one’s life as well Not everyone suffers from depression, the vulnerability or the risk factors that put a person in depression differs from one individual to others. Some people are on the higher spectrum of getting depressed and thus diagnose while others show no symptoms of it.
Some of the risk factors that might place an individual to a higher risk are:
- Learned Helplessness
People tend to believe that there doesn’t have control over the life events happening in their life. They find themselves passive and no control over the events. Such a mentality of people keeps them at a higher risk of developing or suffering from depression.
- Negative thoughts and Pessimism
Those who are by nature very negative and prone to negative thoughts are likely o suffer from depression since the disorder itself has to do with the mood of an individual. Such thinking amplifies negative thoughts and results in depression.
- Lack of motivation and depleted
Sense of purposeless and low motivation makes all the task challenging and gruelling. Thus, those who lack the ability to be flexible, creative and open, they are more vulnerable to distressing and distorted thoughts. Having a low motivation to take up a task makes everything challenging and distressing.
- Biased Memory
Depression is linked to negative thoughts and failure, when individual who isn’t able to recall positive events, they are likely to suffer from depression since all they could recall are past failures, fear and negative events.
- Schema and thought pattern
Schemas are the mental makeup or the cognitive structure of an individual, So, depressed people often have schemas of loss, failure, separation., anxiety, etc. With this, those who have habitual negative thought pattern and schemas are likely to suffer from depression and resulting consequences of it.
- Problem-solving ability
Reactions to stressful and distressing life events depend majorly on how an individual react and respond to it. So, individual who have poor problem-solving abilities are likely to suffer from depression and a depressed individual also have the poor problem-solving ability where they canDeciding recall and react to negative events only.
- Personality type
The personality type of an individual determines whether an individual is likely to have depression or not. Neurotic people tend to fall high on vulnerability to depression since they constantly worry about bad things. Moreover, they also prefer to stay alone and less likely to mingle with others, thus remaining alone and isolated.
- Pursuing or striving for unattainable goals
People who are striving to unrealistic and unachievable goals are more likely to break out and experience a negative mood since it is not reachable at all. So, those who constantly engage in the goal that is far to achieve the result in frustration and agitation that later escalates to depressive symptoms.
- Early traumas and abuse
Studies have shown that people who had adverse childhood experience and traumatic ones are at the increased risk of mental and chronic physical illness. There was a strong link between childhood experience and depression in their later life.
- Stress and Conflict
Life stressors and conflict can put a person to a higher risk of depression. The underlying mechanism is that when an individual is stressed, the cortisol level rises and affect serotonin level as well.
Interpersonal conflict also results in depression and a higher level of socioeconomic status is negatively correlated with depression.
- Substance Use and Abuse
Those who are a substance abuser and has episodes of drug use are at higher risk of depression. Substance use affects brain chemistry and causes depression.
- Daylight and Seasons
Seasonal Affective Depression caused by the lack of sunlight results in lower melatonin. Melatonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for internal biological clock and mechanisms is disrupted when enough sunlight is not received to an individual.
- Lower Resilience
Resilience is the ability of an individual to deal and cope up with stressful life events. A highly resilient individual is less likely to depressed while those who are not resilient enough are likely to suffer from depression since they aren’t able to deal effectively with the stressful events.
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Self Help for Depression
There are some ways and strategies through which one can manage with the symptoms of depression as well as successfully overcome it
- Staying physically active and working out
- Decluttering task and setting priorities for each
- Spending time with dear and near ones
- Taking decision with help from significant ones
- Avoiding self-medication without prescription
- Tracking your thoughts and behaviour
- Reminding oneself that problems are temporary.
Helping those with depression
When you feel like people from your near ones and dear one are battling with depression and are having a hard time, there are many ways of grappling with issues and successfully overcoming it.
- Offering support that can be emotional, instrumental and physical.
- Encouraging the individual
- Building resilience
- Inviting him/ her for some outdoor activities to Psychology to distract them
- Helping or assisting in adhering to the treatment plan
- Reminding him/ her that things will get better
- Tracking his/ her behaviour
- Encouraging and pushing for professional help.
FAQs: Does everyone get depressed?
What is the number one cause of Depression?
Researches have shown that the key causes of depression are unemployment, abusive relation, long-term isolation and prolonged stress.
Does everyone struggle with Mental health?
No, not everyone will experience mental illness. It solely depends on how you take care of mental health just like physical health.
Is there a depression gene?
Only 40% of those with depression can be traced to genetic factor while 60& are solely influenced by social factors.
What is the hardest mental illness to live with?
Borderline Personality Disorder is believed to be the most difficult mental illness to treat as well as deal with.
Do you have to be born with Depression?
No, not necessarily although there is an underlying genetic influence. It is not solely that the genetic factor will cause depression in an individual. There is an interaction of both genetic and social factors.
In this article, we had answered the question, “ does everyone get depressed”, signs and symptoms of depression, types of depression, why some people are vulnerable to depression, keys to help those battling with depression and discussed some FAQ concerning the topic.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.
For further detail
Heshmat, S. (2016, 1 7). 10 Reasons Why Some of Us Are So Vulnerable to Depression. Psychologytoday.
Lyness, D. (2016, 8). Why Do People Get Depressed? Teen health. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/why-depressed.html
National Institute of Mental Health. (2016). Depression Basics. National Institute of Mental Health.
Schimelpfening, N. (2020, 11 12). Why Some People Are More Prone to Depression Than Others. Very well mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/why-are-some-people-more-prone-to-depression-1067622
Watts, G. (2012, 1 30). Why do some people never get depressed? BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16749565