Depression Information

The internet contains a vast and variable resource of information and ideas, and it is often difficult to gauge the reliability and credibility of online information.  If you are currently experiencing depression, looking for reliable information can be confusing, frustrating and overwhelming.

When gathering information, we recommend visiting reputable websites that ensure the quality of their information is of a high standard. has achieved HealthInsite and HONCode standards for website and information quality.  As such the information in this section has been written and presented using reputable sources and referenced accordingly.

‘Depression Information’ is a broad resource of information on the various types, causes & symptoms, as well as treatment methods available for depression.

We respect the right of individuals to make informed choice, especially where the experience of depression is mild to moderate.  Therefore, the information we have presented contains some diversity in terms of treatment methods, including medical, psychological, complementary and alternative options.

Here is an overview of ‘Depression Information’ section:

  • What is depression?
    An overview of depression; how it is defined internationally and common symptoms of depression.
  • Types of depression
    A discussion on how depression is currently classified, types and sub-types of depression, including respective symptoms.
  • Causes of depression
    A short discussion on the various causes of depression.

Essential Oils For Depression

A little about depressive state of mind

d606a3dfe25881deb0bc89520373961aLife is not a bed of roses and we all go through difficult phases in life which can make us sad, disappointed and frustrated. While these feelings of sadness may last for a while, the coping abilities and surviving instincts of human nature eventually take over this state of dismal and we get back to life with full zeal and zest. However, sometimes human mind and body fails to muddle through the negative phase of life and the feelings of sadness and dejection last longer than expected and that is where the problem of depression begins.

Depression is a mental illness in which the disturbed mind and negative thoughts in mind lasts longer than two weeks and make a person aloof, depressed, lonely and deprived of life energy.

People who suffer from depression feel hopeless and dejected about life and everything else altogether. They lose interest in daily activities and it affects their mental as well as physical health. Prolonged periods of depression and misery may lead to extreme pessimism and thoughts of suicide.

A depressed person is vulnerable to glumness and cynicism and might start harming themselves and others around therefore it is very important to get help for depressed persons and get them to the right treatments before it’s too late.

Natural Remedies for Depression

As said earlier, depression is a behavioral problem rooted into mental dysfunction and is completely treatable. In medical terms, the word Clinical depression is used for prolonged phases of dejection and anxiety and there are several medicines and therapeutic treatments are available that can mend the negative state of mind to a more positive at energetic outlook towards life. However, since depression is related to mental and emotional state of human body alternative treatments and natural remedies must also be tried before jumping to the medical procedures.

There are several natural remedies that can heal and cure the depressive state of mind and bring a person back to the joys of life. These remedies work slowly and gradually but they have the power to change the people’s perspectives about life altogether and bring them to appreciate the positive things in life. Some of the most effective natural remedies for depression are:

  1. Exercise: Exercise is a great way to relieve depression and lighten up the mood in general. Exercising regulates the brain chemical and release endorphins that lead to the prevalence of a “happy mood”. For a depressed person, a carefree and light mood is a blessing as it brings him/her out of the walls of negativity and let them experience the positivity of life. Regular exercise can do miracles for a depressed person.
  2. Eating Healthy: A depressed person is prone to bad eating habits which lead to hormonal imbalances and a further onset of hopelessness. Eating a healthy diet can change the way a person feels and carry out his daily activities. Serotonin is the “happy chemical” for the mind that can uplift your moods and there are some foods that can naturally enhance the serotonin levels of your brain, such as eggs, flax seed oil, coconut oil, fish oil and sour cherries.
  3. Essential oils are another powerful and natural way of curing depression. Essential oils are the pure extracts of plants and carry strong medicinal properties that can heal various ailments and lift up the moods instantly. You can use essential oils through essential oil diffusers or massage them on certain areas of your body.

How a depressed person can benefit from essential oils and natural aromas?

The therapeutic nature of essential oils makes them a great choice for a natural remedy for many different problems such as cold, fever, asthma and depression and anxiety.

Inhaling Essential oils can help you relax and unwind after a long tiring day and if you are suffering from depression, essential oils will work to elevate your moods and replace the constant feelings of sadness with those of joy, happiness and delight. Your mind will feel relaxed and rejoiced.

There are several essential oils and essential oil blends that are used specifically for treating depression and sadness in people. Some of the most commonly used blends are:

  1. Lavender oil is a derivation of lavender oil and is used specifically to fight the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  2. Tangerine oil is known for boosting the energy levels instantly, thus helps to overcome negative emotions and feelings.
  3. Elemi is anti depressant oil, which relieves stress and calms down the nervous system.
  4. Sandal wood oil is also another great essential oil used for sedation and calm.

You can use these essential oils via an essential oil diffuser and get the benefit all day long. All you have to do is add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the diffuser and turn it on. The diffuser will fill up your room with the aroma of the oil and create and aura of calmness and relaxation which will certainly help you boost your energy levels and come to think of life in a different way.


Best essential oil diffuser – Read reviews about aromatherapy diffusers and choose the best one for you.

Essential oil on Wikipedia.


Causes & Symptoms

There are many different causes and factors that contribute to depression and each will be unique to the individual who experiences it.  Sometimes the cause is not very clear, and it may in fact involve a number of different factors that all contribute to the resulting depression.

depressioninfographarticleSome causes of depression include:

  • Lifestyle factors such as stress, nutrition, sleep and exercise
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Personality
  • Traumatic event/s such as losing a loved one
  • Medical conditions including hormonal disorders
  • Medications/Drugs

Lifestyle factors

Many of the unhealthy lifestyle habits that contribute to illnesses such as heart disease can also trigger anxiety & depression.  High levels of stress or anxiety combined with poor eating and sleeping habits, and no exercise for prolonged periods may be a significant factor in some people’s experience of depression.

Although not normally associated with depression, nutritional deficiencies (particularly deficiencies in some of the ‘B’ group vitamins), intolerance to foods, additives and some chemicals may also be a contributing factor in depression for some people.

Genetic predisposition

There is strong growing evidence that genes can be a risk factor for developing depression therefore increasing the likelihood that severe environmental stresses may precipitate the onset of depression. Some personality traits, such as a propensity for high anxiety levels, may also be linked with genes.


There appears to be a link with certain personality characteristics and depression. According to Gordon Parker and The Black Dog Institute, a person who exhibits one or more of the following, may be more at risk of depression.

  • experiences high levels of anxiety, is a ‘worrier’ or is irritable
  • is shy or reserved
  • is self-critical or has low self-worth
  • is hypersensitive
  • is a perfectionist
  • has a self focused style

Traumatic events

The natural grief we feel at the death of a loved one, or the breakdown of a marriage or other relationship is a healthy reaction to a stressful life event, and sadness/anxiety in these circumstances may be normal.  If the grief however is severe and continues beyond a reasonable time it may develop into clinical depression.

Medical conditions

If an illness or medical condition is life threatening, disabling or significantly affects lifestyle in a negative way, there is a possibility that depression may occur as a result of having to deal with it emotionally.  However, there are also some illnesses that are known to cause depression such as some cancers.

The hormonal changes that occur naturally throughout life are common igniters of anxiety or depression.  The hormonal changes at puberty, during pregnancy, childbirth and menopause may cause symptoms of depression.  Illnesses that affect hormones such as Addison’s disease and Cushing’s disease can also trigger depression.

Illnesses that are more likely to be associated with or who present with depression include: AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, influenza, thyroid imbalance, Ross River fever, viral pneumonia, neurological disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, sleep apnoea, and stroke.


Symptoms may take some time before they are identified as depression rather than just a rough patch and changes in medication or illicit drug taking are often overlooked when considering factors that may be causes contributing to the depression.

It is very important to discuss any medication or drugs you are taking when discussing symptoms or causes of depression and anxiety with a healthcare professional so you can work together to reduce the symptoms as quickly and as safely as possible.

Some people experience symptoms of depression when they start taking a new medication or when stopping a medication. Taking illegal drugs is one of the common causes of depressive symptoms.

Depression is easier to treat the earlier it is detected and there may also be other explanations to causes of your depression or anxiety which is why a proper assessment by a doctor is important.


Dealing with depression – A common sense guide to mood disorders
Gordon Parker

Genes, stress, and depression
Metabolism Clinical and Experimental 54 (Suppl 1) (2005) 16– 19
Richard J. Wurtman

Genetics of affective (mood) disorders
European Journal of Human Genetics (2006) 14, 660–668
Nick Craddock and Liz Forty

Understanding Depression
Maria Prendergast

Causes of depression
Blackdog Institute

eMedicineHealth (USA)

Types of depression

There are many different types and sub-types of depression that are currently used to describe people’s experience of depression.  However, it is important to understand that there has been considerable debate amongst the health and scientific communities over the classification of depression given the variety of possible causes and symptoms that may be experienced by individuals with depression.

Types of depression are mostly determined by the intensity of the symptoms, the duration of the symptoms, and the specific cause of the symptoms, if that is known.

In recent times depression has been classified according to its severity, which may be useful for people who are unsure as to what level depression affects their lives (mainly mild to moderate cases), however, there are also other types of depression within these categories.  The following information attempts to explain the most widely diagnosed types of depression and their symptoms.

depression-diagnosis-indexMild/Minor Depression and Dysthymic Disorder

Moderate Depression

Major/Severe Depression

Bipolar Disorder (BPD) and Cyclothymic Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Postnatal Depression (PND)

There are some older terms still used to describe depression that some people may come across.  These are:

Reactive depression – depression occurs as a result of external/environmental factors

Endogenous depression – depression occurs as a result of internal/genetic factors

It is now generally understood that both factors are involved in the occurrence of depression rather than either/or.

In addition, there is another classification set used to describe clinical depressive disorders in Australia according to The Black Dog Institute NSW.  It is based on the identification of neurological, psychological, and physical patterns and not solely on the severity of symptoms.

Melancholic – the classic form of biological depression. Its defining features include a more severe depression than is the case with non-melancholic depression, and psychomotor disturbance (cognitive processing difficulties, with slowed thoughts and impaired capacity to work or study and/or an observable motor disorder i.e. slowing and/or agitation of physical movements).

Melancholic depression is a relatively uncommon type of depression. It affects only 1-2 per cent of Western populations.  It has a low spontaneous remission rate and it responds best to physical treatments (for example antidepressant drugs) and only minimally (at best) to non-physical treatments such as counselling or psychotherapy.

Non-melancholic – in this case the depression is not melancholic, or, put simply, not primarily biological. Instead, it has to do with psychological causes, and is very often linked to stressful events in a person’s life, alone, or in conjunction with the individual’s personality style.

Non-melancholic depression is the most common of the three types of depression.  People with non-melancholic depression experience:

  • a depressed mood for more than two weeks
  • social impairment (for example, difficulty in dealing with work or relationships).

Non-melancholic depression has a high rate of spontaneous remission because it is often linked to stressful events in a person’s life. Non-melancholic depression responds well to different sorts of treatments (such as psychotherapies, antidepressants and counselling), but the treatment selected should respect the cause (e.g. stress, personality style).

Psychotic – Psychotic depression is a less common type of depression and its symptoms include an even more severely depressed mood, more severe psychomotor disturbance, and  psychotic symptoms (either delusions or hallucinations), and over-valued guilt ruminations. Psychotic depression has a very low spontaneous remission rate. It responds only to physical treatments (such as antidepressant drugs).

Atypical – the term ‘Atypical depression’ has been chosen to express a possible form of depression that contrasts with the usual characteristics of non-melancholic depression.  E.g. rather than experiencing appetite loss the person instead experiences appetite increase; and sleepiness rather than insomnia. Someone with atypical depression is also likely to have a personality style of interpersonal hypersensitivity (that is, expecting that others will not like or approve of them).

The features of atypical depression include: the individual can be cheered up by pleasant events; significant weight gain or increase in appetite (especially to comfort foods); excessive sleeping (hypersomnia); arms and legs feeling heavy and leaden; a long-standing sensitivity to interpersonal rejection — i.e. the individual is quick to feel that others are rejecting of them.


Dealing with depression – A common sense guide to mood disorders
Gordon Parker

The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders
World Health Organisation

Understanding Depression
Maria Prendergast

Black Dog Institute

Beyond Blue


What is Depression?

definition_depressionDepression means many things to many different people.  Some people describe themselves as being depressed when they’ve heard bad news or when things just aren’t going right, however usually they pick up again in a few days.  This reaction is seen as a normal response to difficult or sad situations and is sometimes described as ‘normal depression’.

Many people at various times in their lives will experience ‘the blues’, a drop in self esteem or self-value, feel self-critical, lack pleasure in life, and feel pessimistic about the future.  Often this is transient in nature and feelings are not disabling.  On the other hand, someone with clinical depression will experience these types of symptoms for more than 2 weeks and often they are unable to function at their normal social and psychological level.

The World Health Organisation defines clinical depression as:

  • Two weeks of an abnormal depressed mood
  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Reduced energy, or feeling tired
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem
  • Feeling guilty and unworthy
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or any suicidal/self-harming behaviour
  • Reduced ability to think or concentrate
  • Agitated or slow movements
  • Disturbed sleep (not enough/too much/poor quality)
  • Change in appetite (increase or decrease) with weight change
  • Decreased libido
  • Unexplained physical symptoms

Minor depression includes 2 of the first three symptoms and at least 2 others.

Moderate depression includes 2 of the first three symptoms and at least 4 others.

Severe depression includes all 3 of the first three symptoms and at least 5 others.

Debate and variances in opinion

Some healthcare systems and professionals hold the view that depression is one condition and that it varies in severity, while others believe that it is a more complex issue.  Many professionals now support the view that depression is not a single, distinct medical condition, that it has many causes and that it can be classified in many ways.

Limiting diagnosis to severity based classifications may hinder a professional from establishing and treating the cause of an individual’s depression, however, understanding the severity of symptoms is useful for establishing what kind of urgency is required when seeking help and treatment.


In order to properly diagnose depression it is important to visit a GP who is able to conduct preliminary tests (some symptoms of depression may be caused by an underlying medical problem) and if appropriate, discuss possible treatment options.

See your GP:

  • If your symptoms have lasted for at least 2 weeks
  • When your work or social functioning is impaired
  • If your mood is not explained by your normal life stressors
  • When rest and relaxation have not helped your mood


Dealing with depression – A common sense guide to mood disorders
Gordon Parker

The ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders
World Health Organisation

Understanding Depression
Maria Prendergast