What is depression?


The World Mental Health Survey conducted in 17 countries concluded that depression affects 350 million people, and is a leading cause of disability worldwide, especially in high-income countries.

But, what is depression? To be depressed is more than just feeling sad. Depression can present itself in many ways but, depending on Depression First Aid Guidelines, for someone to be diagnosed with depression symptoms must include five or more of the following symptoms, including at least one of the first two, and they must persist and interfere with the everyday life for at least two weeks:

  • Feeling irritated and easily annoyed
  • To lose the interest or pleasure in activities before enjoyable
  • Feeling lack of energy and tiredness
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • To have thoughts of death or suicide
  • To have difficulties in concentration or decision-making
  • To move slowly or to be agitated
  • To have sleeping difficulties or sleeping too much
  • To lose interest in food or to eat too much (with changes in weight)

Depression, which can affect people of all ages (although women are twice as likely as men to experience it), and is different for every person, is a disorder of the brain caused by different causes which include:

  • Genetic factors (sometimes depression is hereditary)
  • Environmental factors (stressful events in our life)
  • Medical factors (nutrient deficiencies, or chronic diseases)
  • Psychological factors
  • And biochemical factors

In any case, depression is not caused by personal weakness, laziness, or lack of willpower.

Depression can be treated with medicines (antidepressants), psychological therapy, or with both (most people do best by using both). A healthy diet, regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol, drugs, and too much caffeine can also help.

And new research shows omega-3 intake is associated with boost to antidepressant response. We will explain you in following posts.




Omega-3 and depression in young adults

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