Health A-Z

What is Depression?

What is Depression?


The World Health Organization (WHO), describes depression as a common mental disorder affecting more than 264 million individuals globally. The UAE has developed the National Policy for the promotion of mental health. Among the policy’s objectives includes the provision of mental health services to outpatients, the development of mental health units for inpatients in mental health hospitals, and the establishment of community mental health services.

How Can You Describe Depression?

Depression is a common and severe medical condition that negatively affects your emotions, thoughts, and actions. Fortunately, depression is treatable. It causes sadness or a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed. It can cause various physical and emotional problems and can decrease your productivity.

Depression is different from grief and sadness. It is normal to feel sad after a breakup, a job loss, or the death of a loved one. You might think you’re depressed when going through these hard events.

Sadness and depression differ in many ways. Grieving is a natural response and everybody responds in different ways. Grief and depression share some characteristics. Both might induce feelings of intense sadness and withdrawal from your normal life.

·       Sadness and depression are also different in various ways;

·       In grief, you experience painful feelings mixed with pleasant memories of the deceased. In depression, your mood is decreased for at least 2 weeks.

·       If you are grieving, you still maintain your self-esteem, while depression causes you to feel worthless and self-hate.

·       While in grief you might have thoughts of death to join the deceased, depression causes you to have thoughts of ending your life because you feel undeserving or worthless.

·       Depression and grief can coexist for some individuals, for instance, the death of a loved one can lead to depression.

Types of Depression


Depression is a challenging condition to endure and it increases your risk of developing dementia and heart disease. Depression can happen because of various issues. If you are experiencing cognitive or mood changes that last for a few weeks, it is recommended to seek professional help from the best psychiatrists in Dubai.

The various types of depression include;

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major depressive disorder or clinical depression is characterized by a dark mood, persistent sadness, and a lack of interest in your usual activities. You might have major depressive disorder if you experience 5 or more of the following symptoms regularly for 2 weeks or more;

·       Inability to focus

·       A lack of interest in activities

·       Feeling agitated or restless

·       Feeling guilty or worthless

·       Irritability

·       Negative thoughts and pessimism

·       Lashing out at loved ones

·       Sleeping more

·       Self-isolation

·       Weight gain or loss

·       Morbid suicidal thoughts

·       Fatigue.

Major depressive disorder is treatable with medication and psychotherapy. For severe depression that doesn’t improve with therapy and medication, electroconvulsive therapy is recommended.

Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)

Persistent depressive disorder is a chronic form of depression. It might last for years and impacts your daily activities, relationships, school, and work. With persistent depressive disorder, you find it challenging to be upbeat even on joyous occasions. People might describe you as having a gloomy personality, incapable of having fun, or constant complaining.

Unlike major depression, persistent depressive disorder is not as severe, but it might cause mild, moderate, or severe depression. Persistent depressive disorder symptoms are chronic and can be challenging to control. However, medication and therapy can be effective. Symptoms come and go over a period of years and the intensity can change with time. Major depression episodes can occur before or during dysthymia.

Symptoms include;

·       Hopelessness

·       A lack of interest in activities

·       Fatigue

·       Emptiness, sadness, or feeling down

·       Feeling incapable, self-criticism, and low self-esteem

·       Irritability

·       Trouble making decisions and concentrating

·       Avoiding social activities

·       Decreased productivity.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health illness that causes extreme mood swings such as mania and hypomania (emotional highs) and depression (lows). Depression causes feelings of sadness or hopelessness and losing interest in activities. When your mood changes to hypomania or mania, you might experience euphoria, unusual irritability, or energy. Such mood swings impact your energy, sleep, judgment, activity, behavior, and ability to think clearly.

Mood swings episodes can occur multiple times in a year or rarely. You might or might not experience some emotional symptoms between episodes. Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness that you can manage with a treatment plan. There are various types of bipolar disorder, they include;

·       Bipolar I disorder – It causes you to have at least 1 manic episode that might be followed by major depressive episodes or hypomanic.

·       Bipolar II disorder – This causes you to have at least 1 major depressive episode and at least 1 hypomanic episode, although you might never have had a manic episode.

·       Cyclothymic disorder – This occurs when you have had at least 2 or 1 year in kids and teens of many hypomania symptoms and periods of depressive episodes.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that changes with seasons. It begins and ends at about the same time every year. Like most people with SAD, your symptoms begin in the fall as the days get shorter and continue to winter draining your energy and making you feel moody.

Symptoms usually resolve during summer and spring. Mood changes might be caused by the alterations in your body’s natural daily rhythms, in how your body’s chemical messengers like melatonin and serotonin function, or your eyes’ sensitivity to light.

Treatment includes psychotherapy, phototherapy (light therapy), and medications. Don’t ignore any yearly winter blues they might be an indication of SAD. In most cases, SAD symptoms manifest during late fall or early winter and disappear during the warmer days. Symptoms include;

·       Feeling down or sad most of the day, almost every day

·       Feeling sluggish or having low energy

·       Losing interest in things you once enjoyed

·       Sleeping too much

·       Difficulty concentrating

·       Carbohydrate craving

·       Overeating and weight gain

·       Feeling worthless, hopeless, and guilty

·       Suicidal thoughts.


Depression is a severe condition that can take a toll on your life and close relationships. It is advisable to seek expert advice from the best psychiatrists in Dubai because depression gets worse without treatment.


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