Depression symptoms causes and therapy healing practice

Scientific studies have shown that depression is more common in women than in men. A study has now found an explanation for this gender difference. (Image: sompong_tom/

"All I see is gray" – Depression

Depression is a common mental disorder that manifests itself in depressed mood, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, lack of energy, feelings of guilt, lack of self-esteem, disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, and lack of concentration. Depression is also accompanied by obsessive fears. These problems can become chronic or recur. Restrict the affected persons considerably in the organization of the everyday life. Depression also very often leads to suicide. Factors involved in depression include genetics, brain biology and chemistry, and life events such as trauma, loss of loved ones, cuts in relationships, early childhood experiences, and generally stressful situations.

Depression can affect people at any age, but symptoms of long-term depressive disorder begin in the teen years or twenty-somethings. Most chronic adult mood and anxiety disorders begin with high levels of anxiety in children. In fact, children's anxiety symptoms put them at high risk of developing depression as adults.

Depression occurs as a comorbidity of other serious illnesses, for example, diabetes, cancer, heart problems and Parkinson's disease. Depression exacerbates these conditions, and these conditions exacerbate depression – this spiral can directly threaten the life of the sufferer. Medications for related illnesses can also trigger depression as a side effect.

The risk of suicide is immense in severe illnesses whose companions are depression. Outsiders can hardly tell posthumously whether the deceased took their own life because of depression or because of their primary illness. Depression can come in different forms and degrees of severity. They are generally a serious illness that urgently requires professional treatment. (Image: sompong_tom/


Depression is described by the current International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) as a mental syndrome with the main symptoms of markedly depressed and pessimistic mood, decreased drive and increased fatigability, and suicidal thoughts and actions.

Sometimes, however, the depression hides behind purely physical complaints (lavierte or masked depression).

Women and men

Depression is more common among women than men. Biological, hormonal and psychosocial factors play a role, as do life cycles. Women, for example, are particularly likely to develop depression after childbirth, when hormonal and physical changes are accompanied by the new responsibility for the newborn.

Men also experience depression differently than women. Women mainly report feelings of sadness, worthlessness and guilt; men are more likely to feel tired and irritable, lose interest in their favorite hobbies and have trouble sleeping.

Men also turn more to alcohol and drugs when depressed, and their complaints are more likely to be expressed in frustration than in sadness. They behave discouraged, angry and become abusive. Some men throw themselves into work to avoid talking about the depression with family or friends or behave recklessly. Although depressed women commit more suicide attempts, more depressed men die by suicide.

The "typical male" way of dealing with depression makes it difficult to get help – firstly, they refuse to accept help, and secondly, it is often not obvious to other people that the cause of the noticeable behavior is depression.

Alcohol and drug abuse, insults, and inconsideration are also classic for dissocial characters, narcissistically disturbed people, or, without naming a mental disorder, egocentric people. Depressed men express in this way a deep suffering which they cannot openly articulate. Women suffer from depression much more often than men. (Image: boryanam/

Symptoms and signals

Depression causes cognitive, psychomotor, and other dysfunctions such as fatigue, poor concentration, loss of sexual desire and pleasure in almost all pursuits, sleep disturbances, and a sense of dejection.

Typical complaints of a depression in the mental-emotional area are a depressed mood, which is accompanied by a lack of drive, desire and joy in all activities, including those that were previously enjoyed. Those affected also report feeling-. Lack of interest towards – actually beloved – persons. Some people are afflicted by difficulty concentrating and obsessive brooding, while others have unfounded, z.T. are at the mercy of delusional ideas of guilt, failure or impoverishment. Sleep disturbances, thoughts of suicide, and even completed suicide occur. On the physical level, heart complaints, headaches, sore throat, back and limb pain, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, menstrual disorders in women, and decreased sexual desire in both sexes are evident.

Depressed people often attempt and frequently complete suicide. There may also be symptoms that are essential to other mental disorders, making diagnosis more difficult: Anxiousness, for example, is also a sign of anxiety disorders, and these in turn can accompany or develop into depression.

Patients with all forms of depression often try to control their sleep disorder with alcohol or other drugs – however, doctors often confused cause and effect here in the past. Depression is far less likely to be the trigger for alcoholism than earlier researchers had suspected.

Meanwhile, heavy smoking is typical for depressives, just as they generally neglect their health – if life no longer brings any joy, there is also no point in trying to live a long and healthy life. Sleep disturbances are one of the non-specific symptoms of depression. (Image: Doreen Salcher)


Depressive symptoms can be clearly explained as a result of direct injury to the brain after a stroke, brain tumors or accidents, as well as other organic triggers, for example, hypothyroidism.

In most cases, however, many factors play a role in depression: genetics as well as neurobiochemistry. Today, an imbalance of various neurotransmitters is considered a major factor in depression. In particular, a low release of serotonin, which sets our "feelings of well-being" in motion, can be seen in depression.

Another factor is persistent stress in the organism, which can be measured by certain hormones and is increased in depressives. We speak of depressive moodiness when the symptoms are mild and temporary. During pregnancy and after childbirth, hormonal changes can temporarily promote depressive symptoms, which, however, disappear. Depressive symptoms also occur reactively, i.e., in response to crisis events such as loss, illness, or as a result of ongoing psychological stress (exhaustion depression).

In addition, depression is sometimes due to disturbed biorhythms, as evidenced by mood changes during the course of the day, altered waking and sleeping rhythms with disturbances in falling asleep and staying asleep, or seasonally dependent depression with increased incidence in seasons with little light.

Genetic factors

Genetic factors play a significant role in the risk of developing depression, especially melancholic depression, psychotic depression and depressive episodes within bipolar disorder. British researchers found chromosome 3p25-26 in more than 800 families with recurrent depression. Scientists suspect that up to 40% of all people who develop depression have a genetic predisposition to it. Environmental and other factors are responsible for the remaining 60%. Impaired release of the neurotransmitter serotonin is seen in many people with depression. (Image: Zerbo/

Biochemical factors

In most clinical depressions, neurotransmitter functions are disrupted. Neurotransmitters are messengers that carry signals from one area of the brain to another. Many different neurotransmitters serve different purposes in this process. Three of the most important for human emotions are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

In a normally functioning brain, neurotransmitters interact with a series of neurons, with a signal that is as strong in the second and subsequent cells as it was at the beginning. But in people with depression, these neurotransmitters don't function as usual, so the signal is either weakened or interrupted before it passes the next nerve cell.

Physical illnesses

Physical illness can lead to depression because pain and discomfort make it difficult to do things you want to do. While low moods should not be confused with clinical depression, people with chronic pain are four times more likely to suffer from depression than people without pain.

Chronic physical illness generally puts people at higher risk of developing anxiety disorders or depression. The symptoms of a physical illness, as well as some treatments, can lead to a lifestyle that severely disrupts the lives of sufferers and causes them financial hardship. In addition, their social life often breaks down. Professional life.

Conversely, depression increases the risk of developing physical diseases, for example, heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Researchers also found that young people with depression get more arthritis and digestive system diseases.

In women, depression aggravates the consequences of breast cancer. Danish researchers, in studies of 45.000 women with early-stage breast cancer found that 13% of patients prescribed antidepressants died within five years of diagnosis. Women who never needed such medications had a slightly lower mortality rate: 11%.

As is usually the case with depression, various factors come together here. Initially, depressed women are less likely to start cancer therapies suggested by doctors. How tumors can grow. Form metastases. Cancer doctors should therefore be very careful with women who have previously suffered from depression and perhaps seek additional psychotherapeutic advice to convince them to participate in therapy. Other problems arise from the accompanying symptoms of depression: the lack of concentration causes them to take their medication irregularly, as does hopelessness. It is not uncommon for depression to cause patients to discontinue cancer treatment.

The psychosomatic aspects of cancer cures have not been sufficiently studied to say precisely whether the feelings of pessimism and futility typical of depression promote cancer. However, self-suggestion is effective for a great many diseases. Most likely also associated with cancer. A, casually said, "everything will be all right" feeling or even just a positive view of the world despite illness has a direct effect on neurotransmitters – and also on those that can set healing processes in motion, such as dopamine. Aging is associated with changes in the cardiovascular system, which can also directly or indirectly affect the brain and promote depressed moods. (Image: athomass/

The aging brain

Aging is associated with changes in the functions of various organs. Changes in the cardiovascular system also have a direct or indirect effect on the brain, with consequences for the nerves and thus for the senses and perceptions. This, in turn, can lead to various psychiatrically diagnosed diseases.

Clinical depression, however, is not a normal process of aging. Most seniors feel good about their lives – despite increasing physical problems. However, depression can also be difficult to detect in the elderly. They show few obvious symptoms. Some elderly people who suffer from depression feel tired, have problems sleeping, or seem grouchy or depressed. confused. However, confusion and cognitive complaints also characterize Alzheimer's disease and other nervous and brain diseases.

Older people are more likely to suffer from conditions such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer, which in turn can lead to depression. Or they take medications whose side effects include depressed moods. However, some seniors suffer from depression that has a physical cause, for example, depression in arteriosclerosis or vascular depression. When the blood vessels harden, less blood flows to the organs, including the brain. This leads to the bad moods, but also to the risk of heart or brain attack.

Seniors who suffered from depression as young people are at greater risk of developing depression late in life than those who did not have the condition early in life.


Gender (sex characteristics) is a partial, but at the same time incomplete, explanation of why people develop this illness. The same number of men. Women get melancholic depression. However, studies show that women suffer much more from non-melancholic depression than men do.

Hormonal changes during puberty increase the risk of depression in girls. However, fluctuations in emotions are completely normal during the teenage years – this is due to changing hormone levels. They alone do not cause disorders of the depressive type. However, sociopsychological problems may play a role in depression: Eruptive sexuality and identity formation as well as conflicts with parents, prere to perform in school, sports and other areas of life.

After puberty, the numbers of women with depressive disorders are higher than for men. Because women enter puberty earlier than men, they also develop the disease earlier than men do. stress is considered to be a major influencing factor in the occurrence of depression. It often acts as a trigger for the onset of the disease. (Image: REDPIXEL/


Stress is an important trigger for depressive disorders – and an equally underestimated one. Between stress that depresses someone in the short term and clinical depression, while not worlds apart, there are serious differences.

Prolonged stress increases a person's risk of depression in his or her later years. This includes growing up with abuse or emotional neglect from parents, divorce or loss of a loved one.

Severe depression

Severe depression is an enormous burden not only for the sufferer, but also for society as a whole. They are also called clinical depression, which means that they need clinical treatment. Home remedies" are not enough, and some methods of laymen and – much worse – of charlatans can be fatal without exaggeration. These mental disorders massively affect the social. Emotional behavior patterns of the depressed person. Appetite and sleep no longer function, those affected can hardly cope with their everyday life. Life does not seem worth living to them. In industrialized countries like the U.S. and Germany, major depression ranks among the most common mental disorders – first in the U.S. and sixth in Germany, although the diagnostic criteria in the two countries are not identical.


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