Depression is the leading cause of disability (loss of productivity) in the world and around 35 crore (350 million) people suffer from depression in the world.The two most common symptoms of depression are low mood (feeling sad) and not being able to enjoy anything. Sadly depression has lost its meaning and we all say that we are feeling depressed when we are having a bad day. In medical terms depression needs treatment if sadness of mood is longer than 2 weeks.

Other associated symptoms of depression are

  1. Wanting to be alone
  2. Being emotional/ tearful
  3. Not taking interest in how you look
  4. Difficult to sleep and also too much sleep
  5. Not feeling hungry
  6. Poor concentration
  7. Irritability
  8. Sometimes when depression is very severe, patients can also start
  9. hearing or seeing things.

Why does it happen?

Most of the time there is a cause for depression to occur like death in family, relationship break down but at others there may not be a cause. Depression can also be hereditary, meaning that if your family members have depression than you have more chances of developing depression.


Usually, you need to see a Psychiatrist, who will assess your symptoms, do the relevant physical examination and maybe some blood tests because some medical health problems can also cause depression. There are some online screening tests that you can do, which may also help you. You can search for Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) which may be useful.



Depending on the severity of your depression, your doctor/ psychiatrist may advise


Medication- Several types are available, your Psychiatrist should discuss the benefits and side effects of various groups of antidepressants and in discussion


with you prescribe medication that suits your symptoms best.
Psychotherapy/ Counseling- The doctor may undertake this himself or refer you to somebody more experienced with this.

Self Help – Simple things like good sleep hygiene / taking new hobbies or start exercising may also help you.

Please also see the Sleep leaflet and the leaflet on management of stress.