What is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.

Despite significant distress to the individual impairment in functioning and loss of lives to suicide, depression continues to be under-recognized and under-treated.

Types Of Depression ( What is Depression? )






Examples of other types of depressive disorders newly added to the diagnostic classification of DSM-5 include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (diagnosed in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).


Signs and Symptoms of Depression

If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:


Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness. Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.


Risk Factors for Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.



Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore.

Quick Tip: No two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no “one-size-fits-all” for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.



Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. Rarely, one may need to try different antidepressant medicines before finding the one that improves your symptoms and has manageable side effects. A medication that has helped you or a close family member in the past will often be considered.

Antidepressants take time – usually 2 to 4 weeks – to work, and often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts, so it is important to give medication a chance before reaching a conclusion about its effectiveness.

If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor. Sometimes people take antidepressants to feel better and then stop taking the medication on their own, and the depression returns. When you and your doctor have decided it is time to stop the medication, usually after a course of 6 to 12 months, the doctor will help you slowly and safely decrease your dose. Stopping them abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms.

If you are considering taking an antidepressant and you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about any increased health risks to you or your unborn or nursing child.



Several types of psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy” or, in a less specific form, counseling) can help people with depression. There are different types of therapy available that are chosen as per the patient’s symptoms. Examples of evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

Psychodynamic Therapy

Problem-solving therapy.



If medications do not reduce the symptoms of depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option to explore. Based on the latest research:


Other more recently introduced types of brain stimulation therapies used to treat medicine-resistant depression include

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).

If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider.


Self-help tips for Depression:

Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:



What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and impairs the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. This is a mood disorder where affected persons are prone to periods of mood disturbances i.e. Hypomania, Mania, Mixed episodes, or Depression.

The person may be absolutely symptom-free between the episodes, and effective treatment can keep the person symptom-free for relatively long periods.


Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder experience periods of unusually intense emotion, changes in sleep patterns and activity levels, and unusual behaviors. These distinct periods are called “mood episodes.” Mood episodes are drastically different from the moods and behaviors that are typical for the person. Extreme changes in energy, activity, and sleep go along with mood episodes.


People having a manic episode may:

People having a depressive episode may:

Feel very “up,” “high,” or elatedHave a lot of energy have increased activity levels feel “jumpy” or “wired” Have trouble sleeping become more active than usually really fast about a lot of different things agitated, irritable, or “touchy” Feel like their thoughts are going very fastThink they can do a lot of things at once risky things, like spend a lot of money or have reckless sex

Feel very sad, down, empty, or hopeless have very little energy have decreased activity levels have trouble sleeping, they may sleep too little or too much feel like they can’t enjoy anything feel worried and empty have trouble concentratingForget things a lot too much or too little feel tired or “slowed down” Think about death or suicide

Sometimes a mood episode includes symptoms of both manic and depressive symptoms. This is called an episode with mixed features. People experiencing an episode with mixed features may feel very sad, empty, or hopeless, while at the same time feeling extremely energized.

Bipolar disorder can be present even when mood swings are less extreme. For example, hypomania, a less severe form of mania.

During a hypomanic episode, an individual may feel very good, be highly productive, and function well. The person may not feel that anything is wrong, but family and friends may recognize the mood swings and/or changes in activity levels as possible bipolar disorder. Without proper treatment, people with hypomania may develop severe mania or depression.


Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

Proper diagnosis and treatment help people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and productive lives. Talking with a psychiatrist or other licensed mental health professional is the first step for anyone who thinks he or she may have bipolar disorder.

People with bipolar disorder are more likely to seek help when they are depressed than when experiencing mania or hypomania. Therefore, a careful medical history is needed to ensure that bipolar disorder is not mistakenly diagnosed as major depression.

A careful longitudinal history, physical examination and structured psychological tests/ questionnaires are needed to formulate a diagnosis.


Risk Factors

Scientists are studying the possible causes of bipolar disorder. Most agree that there is no single cause. Instead, it is likely that many factors contribute to the illness or increase risk.



Treatment helps many people—even those with the most severe forms of bipolar disorder—gain better control of their mood swings and other bipolar symptoms. An effective treatment plan usually includes a combination of medication and psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”). Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness. Episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of mood changes, but some people may have lingering symptoms. Long-term, continuous treatment helps to control these symptoms.



Different types of medications can help control symptoms of bipolar disorder. An individual may need to try several different medications before finding ones that work best.


Medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder include:


Anyone taking a medication should:





When done in combination with medication, psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”) can be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. It can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Some psychotherapy treatments used to treat bipolar disorder include:




Options like rTMS, Modified Electrocolvulsive therapy, Vagal Nerve stimulation, etc are reserved for difficult-to-treat cases.

Self-help tips for bipolar disorder:

Keeping a Life Chart: Even with proper treatment, mood changes can occur. Treatment is more effective when a client and doctor work closely together and talk openly about concerns and choices. Keeping a life chart that records daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help clients and doctors track and treat bipolar disorder most effectively.

Maintaining Body Rhythms: Maintaining Well Balanced Sleeping And Dietary Habits.

Avoiding drugs: Helps prevent triggers.

Seeking good social support.

Finding Treatment-

Bipolar disorder is an effectively treatable illness and treatment can help you lead a life free of these episodes and symptoms. Hence delay in treatment can increase the impact on the lives of individuals as well as families.


Self-help Tips For Bipolar Disorder:


generalised anxiety disorder

Generalised anxiety disorder is characterized by marked symptoms of anxiety that persist for at least several months, for more days than not, manifested by either general apprehension (i.e. ‘free-floating anxiety’) or excessive worry focused on multiple everyday events, most often concerning family, health, finances, and school or work, together with additional symptoms such as muscular tension or motor restlessness, sympathetic autonomic over-activity, subjective experience of nervousness, difficulty maintaining concentration, irritability, or sleep disturbance. 

The symptoms result in significant distress or significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms are not a manifestation of another health condition and are not due to the effects of a substance or medication on the central nervous system.

panic disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent unexpected panic attacks that are not restricted to particular stimuli or situations. Panic attacks are discrete episodes of intense fear or apprehension accompanied by the rapid and concurrent onset of several characteristic symptoms (e.g., palpitations or increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or lightheadedness, chills, hot flushes, fear of imminent death). In addition, panic disorder is characterized by persistent concern about the recurrence or significance of panic attacks, or behaviors intended to avoid their recurrence, that results in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms are not a manifestation of another health condition and are not due to the effects of a substance or medication on the central nervous system.


Alcohol dependence is a disorder of regulation of alcohol use arising from repeated or continuous use of alcohol. 

The characteristic feature is a strong internal drive to use alcohol, which is manifested by impaired ability to control use, increasing priority given to use over other activities and persistence of use despite harm or negative consequences. 

These experiences are often accompanied by a subjective sensation of urge or craving to use alcohol. 

Physiological features of dependence may also be present, including tolerance to the effects of alcohol, withdrawal symptoms following cessation or reduction in use of alcohol, or repeated use of alcohol or pharmacologically similar substances to prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms. 

The features of dependence are usually evident over a period of at least 12 months but the diagnosis may be made if alcohol use is continuous (daily or almost daily) for at least 1 month.