Depression 768 768 Paterakis Michalis
Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

Depression is a mental disorder that affects a person’s emotional, physical and social well-being. It can be caused by genetic factors, life stressors, or even biochemical imbalances in the brain. Depression has been studied extensively over the years to better understand its effects on individuals. This article provides an overview of depression, discusses possible causes and risk factors associated with this condition, and reviews available treatments for its management.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression at any given time. Symptoms include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, difficulty concentrating, irritability, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, body aches and pains without a medical cause. Suicidal thoughts are also common. Diagnosis is based on presenting symptoms as well as family history and other environmental factors.

There are various treatment options for those suffering from depression, including talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), medication management such as antidepressants and mood stabilizers, lifestyle modifications such as exercise and dietary changes along with complementary therapies such as yoga and acupuncture. The success rate for these interventions varies depending on the severity of the illness as well as the patient’s response to the treatment plan provided by the healthcare provider.


What is Depression?

Depression is a psychological disorder characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness. It can have an effect on one’s thoughts, behavior, mood and physical health. Depression often disrupts sleep patterns as well as appetite and energy levels. People with depression may have difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

The severity of depression varies from person to person, but it generally affects social life, work performance, and relationships with family members and friends. In some cases it can lead to suicidal ideation or suicide attempts. Treatment for depression usually includes psychotherapy, medication, or both depending on the individual’s needs.

Depression is a serious medical condition that requires professional help if symptoms persist or worsen over time. The next section will discuss identifying warning signs of depression.


Causes and Risk Factors

Depression is a mental health disorder that can affect people of all ages and genders. It can cause feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy. The underlying causes of depression are not fully understood. However, it has been linked to both biological and environmental factors.

Biological components associated with depression include genetic predisposition, changes in hormone levels or brain structure/chemistry, certain medical conditions (ie, thyroid disorders), substance abuse, and chronic stress. Additionally, environmental influences such as traumatic life events (ie, the death of a loved one), family history of mental illness, social isolation, or poverty may contribute to the development of depressive symptoms. In addition, some people may be more predisposed than others because of their age group or gender—for example, women tend to experience higher rates of depression than men at any given time during adulthood.

Several risk factors have been identified that increase a person’s likelihood of developing symptoms of depression, including but not limited to: personal history of mental health or addiction problems, major life transitions, physical illness, financial instability, stressful work environment, lack of support system, violence or trauma related to abuse, long-term unemployment, unresolved disputes with family members or close friends, prolonged contact with negative people / situations / environments. and recent bereavement.

Diagnosis of depression

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects how people feel, think and act. In order to accurately diagnose depression, it is necessary to understand the various symptoms associated with this condition. Diagnosing depression involves assessing a person’s emotional state, behaviors, thoughts, and physical functioning. A comprehensive assessment should include both subjective elements, such as self-reported feelings, and objective elements, such as observed patterns of behavior or tests of biological markers.

The most common method of diagnosing depression is through clinical interviews conducted by psychiatrists or psychologists. During these sessions, people are asked questions about their moods, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in order to assess whether they meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depressive disorder. Additionally, doctors can use standardized questionnaires such as the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire) or the Beck Depression Inventory to determine whether someone has major depressive disorder.

In some cases, the blood test can be used to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be contributing to symptoms of depression. These tests may also look at levels of hormones such as serotonin that have been linked to mood regulation and especially depression. Ultimately, the goal of the diagnostic assessment for depression is to gain insight into a person’s experience so that accurate treatment options can be recommended and implemented.



Treatment options



These drugs work by changing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in order to treat symptoms such as sadness or lack of energy. Commonly prescribed antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants.

Mood stabilizers

Medications such as lithium are often used to help stabilize mood when other treatments fail. They can also reduce the risk of relapse when taken regularly.

Anti-anxiety drugs

These medications can help people manage the anxiety symptoms associated with depression. Examples include benzodiazepines and buspirone.


This form of therapy involves talking through thoughts and feelings with a trained mental health professional in a safe and supportive environment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy, and family therapy are all common types of psychotherapies that can be beneficial in treating depression. However, psychoanalytic type treatment is the first treatment of choice when the person really wants to approach the core of the problem with a steady step and solve it once and for all. It is not widely available because it requires long-term training of the mental health specialist with great financial and time costs in the studies. However, it is an approach to life that aims not only to treat symptoms or change behaviors but to create ways of processing human relationships so that one begins to find a true way of relating to people. With warmth and real understanding.

Lifestyle changes

Healthy lifestyle can have a positive effect on the symptoms of depression. Examples include exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, engaging in relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation or yoga, making time for pleasurable activities, seeking social support from friends and family, etc.

These strategies can help individuals gain better insight into their feelings and behaviors so they can make meaningful changes to improve their overall well-being.

By implementing these various forms of treatment along with continued monitoring by a health care provider, people suffering from depression can begin to feel better over time and move toward recovery more quickly than if left untreated.


Medicines can also be used to treat people with the condition. The drugs work by changing brain chemistry and providing relief from symptoms associated with depression. The most commonly prescribed medications are antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). These medications can help reduce the feelings of sadness or hopelessness that often accompany depression. They may also improve concentration and sleep quality, which can have a positive effect on overall mood.

Antidepressant medications are usually taken for several weeks before any noticeable improvement in symptoms occurs. It is important to take these medications correctly, as directed by a doctor or psychiatrist to ensure maximum effectiveness and avoid possible side effects. In some cases, other types of psychotropic drugs may be added to an antidepressant regimen that includes antipsychotics, anxiolytics, and anticonvulsants. Depending on individual needs, different drug combinations can be tried until the best results are achieved.

It should be noted that while medications can provide symptom relief in many cases of depression, they cannot cure the disorder itself. In addition, there may be some risks associated with taking them, such as weight gain or sexual dysfunction. Therefore, it is important to carefully discuss all available options with a healthcare provider before starting any type of medication for depression. With this in mind, turning to alternative therapies could provide additional supportive tools for managing symptoms associated with depressive disorders.

Alternative cure

As the old saying goes, “When one door closes, another opens.” For those suffering from depression, alternative therapies may offer hope. Meditation and mindfulness have been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms associated with depressive episodes. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judgment or ruminating over past events, it can help with awareness of feelings and thoughts while providing a sense of calm. In addition, yoga has been found to reduce symptoms associated with depression by increasing serotonin levels and helping people become more aware of their body movements.

Other methods for treating depression include phototherapy, which exposes patients to simulated natural sunlight during the dark winter months when daylight hours are limited. Light therapy is thought to affect mood-regulating hormones in the brain such as serotonin and melatonin. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has also been effective in improving mental health outcomes, especially among children suffering from depression, due to its calming effects and ability to create meaningful bonds with animals.

These treatments offer an opportunity for people struggling with depression to explore different options that work best for them rather than relying solely on drug interventions alone. Moving on to the next topic, dealing with suicidal thoughts requires careful consideration given how serious this issue can be.

Dealing with suicidal thoughts

When a person feels depressed, they may have suicidal thoughts. It is important to recognize that these feelings are real and need to be addressed. The first step in dealing with suicidal thoughts is to seek professional help from a mental health provider. A healthcare professional can provide an assessment and offer treatment options, such as therapy or medication management.

In addition to professional help, there are other steps someone can take when experiencing suicidal thoughts. Developing healthy coping skills such as mindfulness meditation, journaling, exercise, spending time outdoors, and engaging in creative activities can help ease the intensity of suicidal urges and reduce depressive symptoms over time . Connecting with supportive people who care about one’s well-being is also essential to managing suicidal ideation. This may include family members, friends, community groups, religious organizations or online support networks.

Creating a safety plan—including identifying triggers for suicide attempts and coping strategies—is another helpful way to protect yourself from triggering suicidal urges. Setting boundaries around access to lethal means (e.g. firearms) or environments where suicide attempts may occur (e.g. bridges) and ensuring that contact information for emergency services is readily available , should also be included in any comprehensive security plan.

Self-help strategies, such as problem-solving techniques and distraction methods, can help people manage their anxiety before it reaches dangerous levels and potentially leads to self-injurious behavior.

Self-Help Strategies

Having addressed the issue of suicidal thoughts, this section will examine possible self-help strategies for managing depression. Self-help techniques can be beneficial in giving people a sense of control and empowerment over their situation as they try to maintain or improve their mental health. These approaches may include lifestyle modifications such as increased physical activity, improved diet, adequate sleep, relaxation methods, and mindfulness-based practices.

Support Groups

Support groups are an important resource for people living with depression. They provide a safe and supportive environment to facilitate the sharing of experiences, offering support and understanding from people who can understand their struggles. Team members learn how to better deal with difficult situations and gain problem-solving skills that they can apply to their lives.

Additionally, team members benefit from hearing about others’ successes as well as their failures, as it helps them find hope and inspiration. By joining a support group, individuals can develop meaningful connections with other members, providing comfort during times of distress. This way helps to reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation that often accompany depression.

In addition, many support groups offer resources such as referrals to mental health professionals or additional community services that may help those experiencing depression manage symptoms more effectively. This allows access to needed care even when finances are tight or insurance is lacking. Therefore, support groups represent one of several evidence-based treatments available for managing depressive symptoms over time. In order to further improve quality of life, it is important to consider diet and exercise habits as well.


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Diets and exercise habits

Ironically, it is often believed that when someone is feeling down or depressed, the last thing they want to do is exercise and eat healthy. However, studies have shown that diet and exercise can play an important role in managing depression symptoms.

It has been found that people suffering from depression often experience physical changes due to their mental state, such as fatigue and lack of motivation leading to an overall decrease in physical activity. Exercise helps release endorphins which are neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of pleasure and relaxation. Thus, regular physical activity can improve mood levels by providing psychological benefits such as improved self-esteem, enhanced energy levels and reduced stress-induced tension. In addition, eating a balanced diet with ample amounts of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce inflammation associated with depressive episodes.

In addition to these physiological effects, research suggests that social interactions experienced during activities such as team sports may be beneficial in treating depression over time by improving communication skills and reducing isolation. Therefore, establishing a consistent exercise routine and following dietary recommendations may prove beneficial when dealing with ongoing depressive symptoms.

The importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle cannot be understated when dealing with issues related to stress or anxiety – this includes getting enough sleep, staying hydrated throughout the day and limiting the consumption of processed foods that are high in sugar.


Dealing with stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety can be the root causes of depression, so it is important to learn how to deal with them effectively. Coping strategies may vary from person to person, but some common techniques are listed in the table below:

| – Applicable strategies – | – Benefits – | – Limitations – |


1 | Exercise regularly Release of endorphins | There may not be access or time for exercise |

2 | Identify triggers | He understands when he feels stressed | It can be difficult to recognize |

3 | Participating in hobbies | To distract his attention from negative thoughts | May need guidance or resources |

4 | Speech Therapy | Provides emotional support | Requires professional help |

Each strategy has its own advantages and disadvantages that must be considered before implementing them in one’s life. Additionally, sometimes a combination of strategies can provide better results than relying on just one technique alone. Understanding stress and anxiety helps create an awareness that allows for healthy coping mechanisms, as these issues do not go away overnight. With appropriate action, individuals can take control of their mental health and live a happy life. After moving to the long-term perspective, self-care practices can play an essential role in managing depressive symptoms and improving overall well-being.

Long-term prospects

The transition from stress and anxiety to depression can be subtle, but the effects of this mental health issue are serious. Depression is a serious condition that affects millions of people around the world. However, it doesn’t have to define one’s life. With the right treatment and support, people with depression can find ways to live fulfilling lives even after diagnosis.

Depression has long-term effects on physical and mental well-being, which can include changes in appetite or weight, fatigue, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, and feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness. Although these symptoms may seem overwhelming at first glance, they can be managed over time with professional help. Treatment plans for depression usually consist of medication management, individual or group therapy sessions, lifestyle modifications such as exercise and dietary changes, and ongoing self-care practices such as journaling and mindfulness meditation. In addition to the traditional treatments for depression described above, new research suggests the potential benefits of alternative therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, and light therapy for symptom relief in those diagnosed with severe forms of the disorder.

Despite the difficulties, depression can open up opportunities for personal growth. It provides an opportunity to better understand oneself while learning how to deal with difficult emotions in healthy ways. Those living with depression often develop greater resilience when faced with adversity, which makes them better able to constructively handle future problems. Ultimately though it’s important to remember that recovery is possible no matter how daunting the journey ahead may seem – taking small steps towards progress each day will eventually lead to a path to wellness.



Frequent ques1tions

How long does it take to treat depression?

The question of how long it takes to treat depression is a common one. It can be difficult to answer, as there are many factors that can affect the effectiveness and duration of treatment for each individual patient. Treatment times can vary greatly depending on the type of depression being treated, its severity, and other personal considerations.

On the other hand, antidepressants usually take longer to improve symptoms. While some people may experience relief within a few weeks of starting an antidepressant regimen, it may take up to 6 months for complete symptom relief to be achieved.

Furthermore, even when improvement has been made with medication alone, further psychotherapy sessions should be considered in order to address underlying emotional issues related to depression.

In summary, the length of treatment for depression depends on many factors that should be considered when considering potential treatments. Different types of treatments require different time for results. However, both traditional medicine and medication play an important role in helping people manage their symptoms effectively.

Are there natural cures for depression?

Seeking natural remedies to address mental health issues has become increasingly popular in recent years. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, about one-third of US adults use complementary therapies such as dietary supplements or herbal medicines to treat medical conditions including depression. Given this trend, it is not surprising that people are now asking if there are natural treatments available for depression.

Various studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of alternative therapies for the treatment of depression. For example, a 2019 systematic review published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings looked at 30 studies that looked at how yoga and meditation can help with symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, sleep quality, and stress levels associated with depressive disorder.

The study found that both interventions could be effective forms of treatment when combined with other psychotherapies. In addition, research shows that acupuncture can also reduce symptoms of depression by stimulating specific points in the body that release endorphins – hormones that make us feel good.

While these findings suggest potential benefits of some complementary approaches to managing depression, further research is needed before they can be recommended as reliable treatments alone or alongside conventional methods such as medication and psychotherapy.

Additionally, it should be noted that some herbs used in traditional medicine have potential side effects and interactions, so individuals should seek advice from their healthcare provider before trying them.

In summary, while more evidence is needed to consider alternative therapies as viable alternatives to conventional treatments for depression, there appears to be potential benefit from certain strategies such as yoga, meditation, and acupuncture. However, caution should be exercised when using them given the risk of side effects or drug interactions.

Are there activities that can help with depression?

It is widely accepted that engaging in activities can help improve overall mental health. This article will examine the question of whether or not there are activities that can help with depression.

There are a number of activities, both physical and psychological, that can be beneficial for those suffering from depression:

Exercise such as walking, cycling, swimming, yoga and other forms of physical activity have been shown to increase endorphins which can naturally lift the mood.
Mindfulness meditation practices such as deep breathing or guided imagery can help people become more aware of their feelings and thoughts without judgment.
Hobbies such as painting, writing poetry, or playing an instrument allow people to express themselves creatively while providing a sense of accomplishment.
Socializing with family and friends can provide emotional support during difficult times.
Spending time outdoors has been linked to improved self-esteem and reduced stress levels due to its calming effects on the mind and body.

When practiced regularly, these activities can significantly reduce depression-related symptoms by helping individuals better cope with negative emotions and gain perspective on life’s challenges.

Incorporating different types of activity into the daily routine can further enhance positive outcomes as it allows greater flexibility in managing depressive states over time. Therefore, it is obvious that engaging in certain activities could be helpful when dealing with depression.

What should I do if I think someone is depressed?

When someone you care about is showing symptoms of depression, it can be hard to know what to do. Knowing how to approach the situation and provide support is essential to ensure that the person receives the appropriate help.

It’s important to recognize that each person’s experience with depression is unique, so there are a few steps to take if you think someone is depressed.

The first step in approaching this condition is to understand the symptoms of depression. These can include changes in sleep patterns, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed, difficulty concentrating, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, lack of energy, as well as thoughts of suicide or self-harm.

Once these signs are identified, it is important to reach out to the person and express your concern for their well-being. Open communication and active listening are key elements in providing emotional support and giving them space to share their feelings without judgment will create a conducive environment for healing.

It is also necessary to suggest seeking professional help, such as speaking with a mental health professional or therapist who can offer further guidance in managing depression.

Ultimately, being patient throughout the process while encouraging them along the way helps create an atmosphere that encourages recovery from depression.

How can I help a loved one with depression?

Supporting a loved one with depression can be challenging, but there are ways to provide help. To help someone dealing with this mental illness, it’s important to understand the disorder and learn how to offer support in healthy ways.

This article will discuss how to best care for a friend or family member with depression by focusing on three main topics: understanding the condition, offering emotional guidance, and providing practical help.

First, you should understand the importance of depression when trying to help a person who has been diagnosed. Researching common symptoms and possible causes can provide insight into why people experience depressed moods and may even lead to more effective coping strategies.

It is also beneficial to consider treatment options such as therapy or medication that may improve the person’s overall well-being. Being aware of these facts can be helpful when counseling someone struggling with this condition.

In addition to gathering information about depression, providing emotional safety is equally critical when supporting those with this disorder. Listening attentively without judgment allows individuals to express their thoughts and feelings while feeling accepted and validated in their experiences.

Encouraging activities such as exercise or spending time outdoors that promote relaxation further helps people manage their stress levels which helps to remove the negative moods associated with depressive episodes. Finally, availability at all stages of recovery ensures that loved ones know they have unwavering support from friends and family during difficult times.

Finally, practical help can also make a difference in caring for someone struggling with depression.

Small acts of kindness, such as going for a run or cooking meals, go a long way in relieving the burden caused by daily tasks so that the person has more energy for self-care activities such as getting enough sleep or engaging in hobbies that bring joy .

Overall, learning how to best care for a friend or relative suffering from depression takes patience and dedication, but it reaps significant rewards. Not only does it benefit the person living with this condition but it also gives caregivers a chance to grow closer despite the challenges they face along the way.


The psychological disorder known as depression is a serious problem that can have devastating effects on a person’s life. Despite being one of the most common mental illnesses, it can be difficult to identify and treat.

While treatment for depression usually requires professional care, there are some helpful activities and natural remedies that people can use to gain control of their symptoms.

Depression has the power to take the joy out of everyday situations, but with the right guidance, sufferers can find solace in simple tasks or activities like exercise, art therapy, or mindfulness practices. In addition, seeking help early is essential.

If someone suspects that they or someone else may be experiencing depression, contacting a health professional should be the first step toward recovery.

In addition, family members and loved ones of people struggling with depression can also offer support by providing encouragement during difficult times and helping them throughout their journey to wellness.

Through understanding how depression affects people’s lives and recognizing the early warning signs, we can work together to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and empower those struggling with resources and support.

There is finally hope for those suffering from this debilitating condition. As long as there is self-belief and a willingness to seek help when needed, no matter how difficult things seem at times, better days will come again.


The process of psychotherapy requires commitment, dedication and is addressed only to those who seriously see that they need to change their lives. If you are thinking of starting this journey, please call me at 211 71 51 801 to make an appointment and let’s see together how I can help you.

Mixalis Paterakis
Psychologist Psychotherapist
University of Indianapolis University of Middlesex
Karneadou 37, Kolonaki (next to Evangelismos)
I accept by appointment
Tel: 211 7151 801

    Πατεράκης Μιχάλης
    Ψυχολόγος Αθήνα


      Psychologist Athens