Depression Psychology: How Does It Happen

Updated August 22, 2023by MyTherapist Editorial Team
Is Your Mood Debilitating In Your Daily Life?

Depression is a disorder that can be a mild inconvenience from time to time or completely debilitating. For an outsider, it's hard to understand. For the one dealing with depression, it's sometimes hard to explain. This post will explain more about depression and what you can do to treat it.

What Is Depression?

Everyone has a bad day or a day where they feel upset, even if nothing is wrong. A depressive disorder involves experiencing chronic feelings of depression, and it is more than feeling sad. It can affect your body and the way you live your life. Here are a few types of depression.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)

PPD is when you feel depressed for over two years. You'll have episodes throughout those years, all differing in severity. Sometimes, you'll feel better, but then those symptoms will return.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is when a woman experiences depression after giving birth. When you give birth, your hormones change significantly, which can lead to depression. This can affect your ability to be a mother to your baby and cause problems in your relationship. Postpartum depression usually goes away after a while but can also be prolonged.

Psychotic Depression

This form of depression is when you experience depression along with psychosis, where you are suffering from hallucinations or delusions. These symptoms may have a theme, such as feeling guilty.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Fittingly abbreviated as SAD, seasonal affective disorder is when a seasonal change makes you feel depressed. This is usually during winter when the amount of sunlight decreases.

Bipolar Disorder

This disorder involves swinging episodes of mania and depression. Mania is when someone feels intense euphoria and generally feels good about themselves. Then, their mood changes, and they feel depressed. While this is not classified as a depressive disorder, it involves episodes of depression, which is worth discussing.


Depression has many symptoms, and it's more than just feeling upset or sad. Here are some common symptoms.

  • Constantly feeling sad or apathetic, even if there's nothing to be sad over.
  • You may feel hopeless, worthless, or guilty.
  • You may feel irritable.
  • Hobbies you used to enjoy aren't interesting anymore.
  • You may feel fatigued.
  • Your speech and movement are slower, or you may be unable to keep still.
  • Your concentration and decision-making ability fade.
  • Your appetite may change, which can affect your weight.
  • Your sleeping patterns may change. You may have insomnia or sleep too often, both of which aren't good for your mental health.
  • You may experience headaches or other aches and pains. Sometimes, you may mistake this for another disease or disorder.
  • In the worst cases, you may feel suicidal and even attempt suicide.

You don't need to have every symptom to have depression. Everyone's depression manifests in different ways. You can explain all your symptoms to your doctor, and they can determine whether or not you have depression.

Causes Of Depression

Is Your Mood Debilitating In Your Daily Life?

There are quite a few reasons why one may experience depression. Sometimes, it's genetic. If your parents had depression, you might have it as well. Other times, it's situational. A specific event may trigger your depression, and changing your life may be the solution. Other times, past trauma may be the cause, or it can be caused by chemical imbalances in your brain due. Positive emotions are due to feel-good chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, and if there is disruption, it can cause you to feel depressed.

Depression is common during adulthood but can happen in children, adolescents, and any other age group. For older adults, depression can be a symptom of another disease.

Treating Depression

There is no way to rid yourself of depression for good, but treatment is available regardless of its severity. A combination of medicine and therapy is commonly used to treat depression. Sometimes, the brain may need stimulation to feel better. There is no right solution to depression, as everyone is affected differently. Often, treatment is trial and error.


Medications such as antidepressants may be able to treat your depression. These medications can change the chemicals in your brain to make you feel better and do more. There is no magic pill, however. You may need a specific dosage and type of medicine for treatment to be effective. If a particular medication has helped someone in your family, it may be more effective for you.

Medication does not start working right away. It can take weeks before you see results. Often, the improvements are gradual; for example, you may still feel depressed, but your sleep has been improving. As you take these medications, make sure you communicate with your doctor. If you are experiencing adverse health effects, talk to your doctor about them and see what you can do. If you want to quit your medication, speak to your doctor as well. Stopping the medications suddenly may lead to adverse effects.

Antidepressants are relatively safe, but there are some side effects. One severe side effect can be thoughts of suicide. If you are experiencing this, you should talk to your doctor immediately. It's rare but more prominent in young adults and younger.

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline can be reached at 988 and is available 24/7.


A few therapy and counseling options are available to treat depression, and they work great whether you're taking medicine or not. Some forms of therapy that can treat depression include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. This involves replacing any negative or self-defeating thoughts with more productive thoughts. In other words, positive thinking. You can't change your thoughts overnight, but CBT allows you to do it gradually.
  • Problem-solving If a situation in your life causes your depression, problem-solving therapy is here to allow you to manage it much better and end the cause of your depression. Often, your depression makes it harder to solve your problems, and therapy is the workaround for that.
  • Talk therapy. Sometimes, talking about your problems can help you find solutions. You may learn that something in your past causes your depression, and you can take steps to resolve any past issues.

There are other approaches to treatment besides medication and therapy, including lifestyle changes and ECT.

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, you may need to change your routine to improve your depression. Examples include:

  • Exercising more. Exercise can make a difference if you're always in the "I don't want to do anything" mood. Exercise is excellent for mental health, releasing all sorts of feel-good chemicals. By improving your body, you can also improve your mood.
  • Changing your diet. Your diet can contribute to your depression, especially if you eat poorly. Talk to your doctor about your diet and see if there are any changes you can make to it to feel better.
  • Getting on a routine. Those who are depressed may lose their routine, which can make them more depressed. A routine keeps you distracted and can make you feel more accomplished, which can fight your depression quite well.
  • Making new friends. If your social circle isn't supportive, finding friends who support you can be the solution you need.
  • Changing your hobbies, location, or other lifestyle changes. Sometimes, you may have grown bored with your way of life, which can contribute to depression. Making changes can stimulate your mind and make you feel much better about yourself.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

ECT is a treatment option for those with severe depression who don't respond to other treatment options. It involves stimulating parts of the brain with electricity. These parts of the brain are associated with treating depression; giving them some stimulation can make you feel better.

It's not painful, and the side effects aren't bad. Some experience cognitive difficulties at first, and it's worth talking to your doctor about ECT if you need more clarification.

Online Therapy Can Help

If you need help with your depression or aren’t experiencing depression but need someone to talk to, online therapy can help. With online therapy, you don’t have to worry about being on a waiting list for an appointment. When you sign up, you’re matched with someone who is available to start helping you in a matter of days. And because you attend sessions from the comfort of home or anywhere you have an internet connection, you don’t have to worry about commuting to an office. Many people who are experiencing depression may have a hard time getting out of bed, much less driving to a therapist’s office, which makes online therapy a convenient option. Research shows that online treatment leads to “significant decreases in symptoms of anxiety and depression” and many other conditions, like panic disorders, PTSD, and phobias. If you’re ready to learn more, contact a therapist to take the next step.


Depression is hard to understand, even if you have it. Sometimes, you may become numb to how you’re feeling. If you have been experiencing depression for a while, it's best to talk to your doctor and see your available treatment options. Don't let depression control you; leaving it untreated can lead to more problems down the road and make it harder to treat.

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