Though everyone has some ‘down’ days that are not good as others, it is important to distinguish these feelings and depression. Depression is not sadness, grief, disappointment or frustration. Depression can be experienced for a period of time or on an episodic basis. Depression is characterized by significant changes in sleep and eating patterns, anxiety or restlessness, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, loss of interest in activities that previously were pleasurable, unusual worrying, and significant fatigue, etc. It is necessary to rule out any physical basis to the depression (similar symptoms can be result of medication or physical illnesses).
There are different types of depression and each person experiences it differently. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Anxiety, restlessness and agitation often accompany depression. For others exhaustion and fatigue are more predominant. Social withdrawal is another common response when people experience depression. Many people experience a sense of helplessness and hopelessness in managing their depression. Depression is the most common mental health problem. Depression is treatable with psychotherapy, coping and cognitive-behavioral techniques, and medication.
Research show there is some familial tendencies toward depression. “Demystifying Depression” by Eric Wargo, Association for Psychological Science Observer, Aug. 2008, Vol. 21 (7).
Antidepressants and psychotherapy: a clinical research review by Combining psychological treatment and drug treatment whether sequentially or concurrently has been supported. Additionally the combination tends to be protective and lowers the possibility of relapse. “Antidepressants and Psychotherapy: a clinical research review,” Ellen Frank, Danielle Novick, & David Kupfer Dialogues Clinical Neuroscience Sep 2005; 7(3): 263–272.