Youth Ambassador Series: Exploring Different Mental Health Disorders – Depression

As part of NAMI Eastside’s Youth Ambassador program, Jinwoo “Antonio” Lee is exploring the eight different mental health disorders defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).


About Depression

By NAMI Eastside Youth Ambassador Jinwoo “Antonio” Lee

Do you remember the first post about anxiety disorder? As a third mental health disorder that WHO classified, I would like to introduce depressive disorder, also known as depression. According to WHO, approximately 3.8% of the population experience depression. Even though there are many ways to treat it, more than 75% of middle- and low-income countries can’t receive treatment. Why is depression a serious disorder? How can it be prevented or treated?

What is the difference between anxiety disorder and depression? The difference between anxiety disorder and depression is evident in symptoms. Depression is when one has a persistent feeling of sadness, whereas anxiety disorder is when one undergoes hopelessness or worry that one can’t control. Depression is mostly focused on present or past situations; however, anxiety disorder is usually focused on worry about future happenings. However, both disorders can happen together, and statistically, 60% of people with anxiety also experience depression.

What are the possible causes of depression? In correlational studies, people who are older tend to have a high risk of depression. This could also be tied to social causes such as living alone. The causes of depression can be classified by the biopsychosocial approach– biological, psychological, and social factors of depression. Biologically, depression is heritable. Complex genes in inheritance can cause depression. Psychologically and socially, personal causes such as physical, sexual, or social abuse or conflict are some of the main triggers of depression. There are lots of situations in which these abuses can happen, and they prevail throughout people’s unawareness of abuse, especially when people are unaware of others’ feelings due to their actions.

What are the symptoms and main types of depression? Major depression is the main type of depression, where people are depressed for two weeks, and depressive symptoms can delay aspects of their daily lives. The other type of depression is called persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymic disorder, whose symptoms are less severe but last more than two years. Seasonal affective disorder occurs when symptoms happen typically in particular seasons, mostly in late fall, and perinatal depression occurs during or shortly after pregnancy. The general symptoms of depression are similar to those of bipolar disorder, such as continuity of “empty” mood, feelings of frustration, guilt, or anxiety. People who experience depression also might lack appetite and undergo weight changes. In the extreme, they may have thoughts of suicide. 

Are there ways to prevent or treat depression? I have emphasized self-esteem throughout a few posts. Taking care of yourself is the most important basis of your life. Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and consuming good quality food, interacting with family or friends may help treat symptoms of depression. However, if you think you have depression, don’t hesitate to reach out to medical providers for help. There are numerous prevailing causes in society, as I mentioned, but always know that there are a lot of people to help you. “You are not defined by your mental health condition.” After visiting a medical doctor, there will be therapies that can help, and you will eventually learn how to find and recollect yourself in the way that is best for you.