NB Psychiatry

Depressive Disorder

It’s okay to feel down from time to time, but what if I told you it could be more than that? Let’s explore what depression actually is, how common it is, and why it’s important to educate ourselves about it.

What is depression?

Depression (commonly known as major depressive disorder) is a mental health disorder affecting your mood and ability to function. It can affect how a person feels, thinks, or behaves and can also cause physical symptoms, for instance, fatigue, changes in appetite or sleep, and aches or pains. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that 5% of adults suffer from depression. 

What are the symptoms of depression?

A depressive episode can be characterized as mild to moderate to severe depending on how often it occurs, the intensity of symptoms, the impact on the person’s functioning, and the length of the occurrence.

Some signs of depressive disorder are:

What causes depression?

Depression is a condition that can occur at any stage of life, but it typically arises during adulthood. Let’s discuss the causes of depression:


If a family member has depression, it’s possible that you could be more likely to develop it, too. This is because depression can run in families.

Life events:

Depression may be brought on by tension, losing a loved one, distressing incidents or trauma, loneliness, and a lack of social support.


Individuals who have management problems or are quickly overwhelmed may be more susceptible to depression.

Medical conditions:

Chronic physical pain and illness may contribute to depression. It is common for conditions like diabetes and cancer to coexist with depression in some individuals.

Environmental factors:

Some people may be more susceptible to depression if constantly exposed to violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty.


Depression can be a side effect of some prescription meds. Alcohol and recreational drugs can both cause depression or intensify it.

Substance abuse:

Abuse of substances, for instance, alcohol and drugs, could worsen depressive symptoms or, in rare situations, even cause depression.

What are the types of depressive Disorder?

Major depressive disorder, the depression caused by bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, and a low-grade, chronic depression known as dysthymia and seasonal depression are the main types of depressive disorder that are generally recognized by experts.

First, we have Major depression,  the one people usually think about when you mention depression. It’s persistent sadness, loss of interest and pleasure in most activities, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness, amongst other symptoms. It’s often severe and can last for weeks or months.

Next, we have Persistent depressive disorder, or what professionals call dysthymia. It’s a persistently low mood that lasts for most days over two years or more. Symptoms may not be as severe as Major depression, but they may still have an impact on your quality of life. 

Then there’s Postpartum depression, also referred to as postpartum disorder. Symptoms include fatigue, sadness, anxiety, and thoughts of harming oneself or the baby. With all the pressure and hormonal imbalances that come with new parenthood, postpartum depression can be challenging and overwhelming. 

Seasonal depression, usually called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is another type of depression that happens during specific times of the year. The symptoms usually begin during autumn and winter when there are fewer daylight hours. Lethargy and oversleeping, or hypersomnia, are common features of winter SAD, along with weight gain; summer SAD is more often accompanied by insomnia. This condition is known for causing trouble in both falling asleep and staying asleep.

Bipolar disorder, or depression characterized by mood swings that alternate between the extreme poles of depression and mania. Mania is a period of intense excitement, enthusiasm, and energy, which can progressively lead to high-risk behaviors.

How is depression disorder treated?

Depression is a treatable condition, even in severe cases. Early intervention is key to effective treatment. Treatments for depression include psychotherapy, medication, and self-help strategies such as exercise, healthy eating, and quality sleep. Complementary treatments like massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, and biofeedback may also be helpful for minor or recurring symptoms. For severe cases, brain stimulation therapy such as TMS, ECT, and VNS may be beneficial. ECT is reserved for those who have not responded to other treatments. Overall, there are many options available for those seeking treatment for depression. Book your online appointment with Dr, Sohail Nibras.

What things can you do to prevent depression?

If you have experienced depression before, you may be at a higher risk of experiencing it again. Start with self-help which is taking care of yourself. First and foremost, start by getting some exercise. Exercise is known to release endorphins, which are known as the ‘feel-good’ hormones. 

Another way to calm your nerves down is through meditation and mindfulness. Meditation is one of the most effective ways to do this, and it is easy to learn. Just breathe and focus on your breaths- in, and out.  Also, try to bring yourself to the present moment and be mindful of your surroundings.

While we’re on the subject of mindfulness, remember to have a healthy diet. Eat mindfully, maintain a nutritious diet, and avoid eating in front of any screens. The next step would be having some good sleep hygiene. Try to get to bed on time, and sleep for at least seven hours. Avoid taking your phone or laptop to bed with you, and try not to watch movies or use social media before bedtime. 

Also, Avoid alcohol, nicotine, or drugs. Keep maintaining your treatment plan. Lastly, make sure to have some social support. Talk to your friends, family, or any trusted support groups. You’re not alone in this battle. Remember, there’s no single solution to depression. However, by working on yourself, you can fight it better.