Dr. Nikhil Kanase

Breaking the Stigma of Depression


What Does Depression Feel Like?

Depression is a very common but serious mood disorder that negatively affects-

  • How you feel? 
  • How you think?
  • How you act? 

Depression is a feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, or anger. It leads to various emotional and physical problems and can decrease the ability to work. But depression can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both.

There are two main types of depression-

Major depressive disorder: A severe form of depression characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that need treatment.

Persistent depressive disorder: Also called dysthymia, is milder, but symptoms last for at least two years or more.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Symptoms of depression range from acute to severe and vary from person to person. 

  • Emotions:

Feeling of sadness

Irritability or frustration

Anger outbursts

Anxiety or feeling of fear  

  • Thoughts:

Lack of concentration at work or day-to-day activities

Confusion and difficulty making decisions

Suicidal tendency 

  • Physical:

Fatigue or feeling of tiredness 

Lack of energy

Changes in sleep cycle (sleeping too much or too less)

Unusual weight gain or weight loss

  • Behavior:  

Frequent mood swings (fluctuations in mood from time to time)

Withdrawal from others (avoiding people and activities)

Personality changes (shift in the way you behave, feel or think)

There may also be memory difficulties in some people, especially older adults.

Causes of Depression

Although there are many causes of depression, some major factors include:

  • Chemical imbalance in the brain that manages your mood, thoughts, sleep, appetite, and behavior 
  • Hormonal changes in females during the menstrual cycle, postpartum period, or menopause 
  • Family history of depression or any other mood disorder
  • Early childhood trauma or events that affect the way your body reacts to stressful situations and communicates with the world
  • Brain structure, where the frontal lobe of your brain is less active
  • Medical conditions such as insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and cancer
  • Substance abuse like alcohol or drug misuse
  • People under emotional or chronic physical pain for long periods 

Risk factors for Depression

Common risk factors for depression include:

  • Age and Sex: More in females than in males of age 50 and older
  • Genetics: Family history of depression or other mental disorders
  • Environmental factors: Financial status, violence, living alone 
  • Certain medications: Hormonal birth control pills, corticosteroids, and beta-blockers 
  • Improper Nutrition: Low levels of vitamin D.
  • Substance misuse: Alcohol or Drugs
  • Medical illnesses: Stroke, cancer, insomnia

Treatment for Depression

Self-help: Regular exercise, regular sleep, and spending more time with people around you can improve depression symptoms.

Counselling: Counselling or psychotherapy (talking to a mental health professional) helps address your problems and develop coping skills.

Alternative medicine: Therapy like massage, acupuncture, hypnosis, etc., can improve your well-being.

Medication: Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to change the brain chemistry that causes depression. 

Brain stimulation therapy: Brain stimulation therapy like electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can help people with severe depression.

Prevention of Depression

  • Exercise regularly to remain physically active 
  • Cut down social media time to help with self-esteem
  • Reduce stress by practicing meditation
  • Maintain a regular sleep cycle (7-8hours of daily sleep)
  • Maintain a standard healthy weight
  • Maintain a healthy eating lifestyle
  • Reduce alcohol and drug use
  • Manage your chronic conditions with proper medications
  • Cope up with your surrounding and communication with your surrounding people
  • Consult a doctor for a proper treatment plan 


Depression is a common and serious mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can impact a person’s mood, thoughts, and behavior, leading to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in daily activities. While depression can be a challenging condition to manage, it is treatable with the right support and interventions, such as therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Seeking help and talking openly about your experiences with depression is an important step towards recovery and improved mental health.

Remember, you are not alone, and there is always hope for a brighter future.