Depression: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Depression?

Depression is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest. It is also known as major depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder.

Recovery Time

Recovering from depression is different for everyone. Some recover in a few weeks or months. But for others, depression may be a long-term illness.


  • Physical examination
  • Laboratory tests (blood test)
  • Psychological evaluation

FAQs prepared by doctor

Q1.  Is depression life-threatening?
The mental distress caused by depression can be a risk factor for suicide. Depression can distort rational thoughts and behavior, so that death seems like the only option. If you or your loved one feels disabled by depression, its important to open the door to discussion and to ask for professional help. Although it is not an easy subject to discuss, do not be afraid to talk about suicidal thoughts.

Q2.  Why is depression more prevalent in women than in men?
Depression is twice as common among women as among men. Before adolescence, girls and boys experience depression at about the same frequency. By adolescence, however, girls become more likely to experience depression than boys. Research points to several possible reasons for this imbalance. The biological and hormonal changes that occur during puberty likely contribute to the sharp increase in rates of depression among adolescent girls. In addition, research has suggested that girls are more likely than boys to continue feeling bad after experiencing difficult situations or events, suggesting they are more prone to depression.

Q3.  What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Women are particularly vulnerable to depression after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. Many new mothers experience a brief episode of mild mood changes known as the baby blues. These symptoms usually dissipate by the 10th day. PPD lasts much longer than 10 days, and can go on for months following child birth. Acute PPD is a much more serious condition that requires active treatment and emotional support for the new mother.

Q4.  I am going to experience menopause, will depression be associated?
Menopause is defined as the state of an absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. Menopause is the point at which estrogen and progesterone production decreases permanently to very low levels. The ovaries stop producing eggs and a woman is no longer able to get pregnant naturally. During the transition into menopause, some women experience an increased risk for depression. The low levels estrogen and progesterone is not always associated with depression.

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