Understanding Depression

Being depressed feels like carrying an extremely heavy burden. But, you’re not alone. Every year, there are millions of people in the US who suffer from the depression. In 2017 alone, there were 16.2 million adults in America who experienced a major depressive episode. Also, about 15% of the adult population will at one point in their lifetime experience depression. This makes depression one of the most common mental health illnesses in the US.

Depression is more than simply feeling upset. From time to time, everyone feels unmotivated, disappointed, or sad. Depression is categorized as a mood disorder and may be defined as a prolonged feeling of anger, loss, or sadness that interferes with your everyday activities.

What Causes Depression?

Although the exact cause of depression is not known, there are different things that are linked to its development. Depression normally results from a combination of current and longer-term events or personal factors and not just one immediate event or issue.

Life Events

Research suggests that prolonged difficulties such as staying in an uncaring or abusive relationship, long-term loneliness or isolation, continuous work-stress, and long-term unemployment are highly likely to cause depression than recent life events.

On the other hand, recent events can also trigger depression if a person is already prone to it because of personal factors or bad experiences.

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Personal Factors

  • Personality-People who worry a lot, take criticism personally, are perfectionists, have low self-esteem, are negative, or self-critical are at a higher risk of depression.
  • Family history– Some people face an increased risk of depression because of their genetic predisposition. Although, having a close family member with depression doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll experience the same. Personal factors among other life circumstances will still influence depression.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse– Drug or alcohol abuse can either result from or lead to depression. A lot of people with depression also have alcohol or drug problems.
  • Serious illness– The constant worry and stress of dealing with a serious medical condition can cause depression, especially if you’re coping with chronic pain and long-term management.

Talking with Your Therapist About Depression

Depression is not a life sentence. With BetterHelp, you can get access to resources and a therapist for depression.

Medication and talk therapy are often used as the first line of treatment for people who have depression. In talk therapy, patients are encouraged to openly discuss their feelings and problems with a qualified therapist.

Your therapist will help you understand which behaviors or patterns of thought contributed to your situation. The therapist will teach you ways to identify and cope with your triggers as well as exercises to reduce your anxiety and stress.

Talk therapy may effectively resolve mild or temporary depression. A combination of medication and talk therapy is used to treat severe depression.


Depending on the type and severity of depression, medication may be administered to a patient for only a short period or for long term use. Your doctor will take into account multiple factors before prescribing the medication including:

  • Your specific symptoms
  • The type of depression
  • Current health issues
  • Possible side effects
  • Cost
  • Possible drug interactions
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