Stigma Of Depression

The burden of depression is suffering from the public’s beliefs, stigma, and resulting behavior. Lack of data, misunderstanding, and stigma about depressed people and their surroundings are barriers to improving their psychological state. The stigma of depression is different from that of other mental illnesses. It is mainly due to the harmful nature of the disease that creates depressives that seem unattractive and unreliable. Self-stigmatization makes patients shameful and secretive and may prevent proper treatment. It may also cause somatization.

Depression is associated with negativity and a tendency to worry about what we can’t change or can’t perceive. Throughout history, this ‘fear of the unknown’ has formed our perception of those suffering from the psychological state.

That is our fate of society and our nature to fear what we don’t understand. People tend to label those that are depressed as insane and that have a more significant propensity toward displaying violent behavior.

However, this is not the case. Varied studies have shown those with mental disorders aren’t any more likely than anyone else to commit violent acts. The depressed are more likely to be the victims of violent crimes than the perpetrators.

Stigma of depression
Depressed woman

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental health issue that occurs most often in early adulthood. It’s also more common in women. However, anyone at any age may affect depression. The term ‘depression’ defines a state of feeling sad or lack of happiness; depression is a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, disturbance in a sleep cycle, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.

Depression is caused by alleviating the level of neurotransmitters in the brain like serotonin, norepinephrine & dopamine.


It is considered a natural mood stabilizer. Serotonin within the brain is assumed to manage anxiety, happiness, and mood. Low levels of the chemical are related to depression.


Dopamine plays an integral role within the reward system, a gaggle of brain processes that control motivation, desire, and cravings. Like serotonin, dopamine can also influence people’s moods and emotions. Dopamine also plays a task in motivation and reward-driven behaviors.


Plays a part during a person’s mood and skill to concentrate. Low levels of norepinephrine may lead to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and hypotension.

Depression is Different from Sadness or Grief/Bereavement

The termed ‘depression’ can be misleading. Everyone in the ordinary course of daily life will experience alterations in mood. Depressed mood in this context does not represent a disorder or illness, lowered mood, feeling sad, lack of interest, inactivity that may be normal as a response to the ups and downs of living is considered normal and termed sadness or happiness.

Depression is characterized by if the condition persists most of the time for at least two weeks consecutively and loss of interest or pleasure in most activities, disturbance in sleep and appetite, and deficits in cognition and energy. Thoughts of guilt, worthlessness, and suicide are common. Depression can lead you to various emotional and physical disorders and can diminish a person’s ability to work and feel comfortable home.

Adult Alone Anxious

Types of Depression

It’s normal to feel down occasionally, but if you’re sad most of the time, and it affects your daily life, you may have clinical depression. It’s a condition you can treat with medicine, talking to a therapist, and changing your lifestyle.

There are many different types of depression. Events in your life cause some, and chemical changes in your brain cause others.

   Major Depression

You may hear your doctor call this ‘major depressive disorder’. You might have this type if you feel depressed most of the time for most days of the week.

   Persistent Depressive Disorder

If you have depression that lasts for two years or longer, it’s called a persistent depressive disorder. This term describes two conditions previously known as dysthymia (persistent low-grade depression) and chronic major depression.

   Bipolar Disorder

Someone with bipolar disorder, which is also sometimes called ‘manic depression,’ has mood episodes that range from extremes of high energy with an ‘up’ mood to low ‘depressive’ periods.

   Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

The seasonal affective disorder is a period of major depression that most often happens during the winter months when the days grow short, and you get less and less sunlight. It typically goes away in the Spring and Summer.

   Psychotic Depression

People with psychotic depression have symptoms of major depression along with “psychotic” symptoms, such as:

  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there).
  • Delusions (false beliefs).
  • Paranoia (wrongly believing that others are trying to harm you.

   Atypical Depression

This type is different than the persistent sadness of typical depression. It is considered to be a ‘specifier’ that describes a pattern of depressive symptoms. If you have atypical depression, a positive event can temporarily improve your mood.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities.
  • Appetite or weight changes.
  • Sleep changes.
  • Anger or irritability.
  • Loss of energy.
  • Self-loathing.
  • Concentration problems.
  • Unexplained aches and pains.

Causes of Depression


The variant of the gene responsible for encoding the serotonin transport protein could account for early childhood experiences being translated into an increased risk through stress sensitivity in adulthood. Depression can run in families as it can be an abnormally functioning gene responsible for causing depression.

   Environmental Factor

Environmental stresses can often be identified before an episode of mania or depression, such as loss of a loved one, unemployment, break up in the relationship, etc.

   Biochemical Factor

A deficiency of the neurotransmitter amines in some regions of the brain like norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine is the cause of depression.

   Endocrine Factors

The endocrine system, particularly the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis, is felt to be implicated in the development of affected disorders. Some endocrine conditions like cushion’s syndrome have also been associated with changes in mood. People with depression have been found to have increased cortisol levels. Death/Abuse


Depression affects your brain, so drugs that change the chemicals in your brain may prove beneficial. Common antidepressants may help ease your symptoms, but there are many other options as well. Each drug wont to treat depression works by balancing certain chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters. These drugs add slightly alternative ways to ease your depression symptoms.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs help improves serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain. This may reduce depression symptoms. These drugs include:

  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq, Khedezla)
  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
  • Levomilnacipran (Fetzima)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor XR)

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

TCAs are often prescribed when SSRIs or other antidepressants don’t work. The actual mechanism of action is still unknown

TCAs include:

  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)
  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Doxepin
  • Imipramine (Tofranil)


Dopamine Reuptake Blocker

  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Forfivo, Aplenzin)

It is mild dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake blocker.

Other drugs include:

Analgesic, anti-psychotic, anti-depressant, anti-hypertensives and convulsant, opiate with a drawl, benzodiazepines, and steroids,



There are a variety of things people can do to assist in the reduction of the symptoms of depression. Regular physical exercise like jogging and yoga helps to generate positive feelings and improve mood. Getting enough quality sleep daily, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol (a depressant) can also help reduce symptoms of depression. Stopping smoking has benefits that are as large as or larger than those of medicines.

The best treatment of depression is happiness; only happiness can cure depression. If you think you are a depressed person, so try to find joy in every single small thing. Spend time doing activities that make you happy, gatherings with friends, approaching your old friends, and trying to share your condition with them so that they can help you. If it doesn’t work, traveling is also a perfect option to get rid of depression because natural beauty can give you inner peace. 


How is Depression Treated?

Self Help

  • Learn a new language.
  • Read books.
  • Challenge your challenges.
  • Do physical exercise.
  • Wake up early.
  • Join a support group.


Psychotherapy may help patients to overcome the symptoms of depression. This type of therapy aims to improve the patient’s social functioning by linking their mood with interpersonal contacts so that their depressive mood and relationships can simultaneously improve.


But if all the above mentions fail to overcome your depression, then see your family physician or psychiatrist. Talk about your concerns and request a thorough evaluation. Your physician or psychiatrist may prescribe medicines or antidepressant drugs. Antidepressant drugs work by alleviating the level of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Antidepressants increase the level of serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine, which help to overcome your depression.


Electro-convulsive Therapy

Electro-convulsive therapy involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. ECT would be considered after referral to a psychiatrist. Although it is to have the fastest onset of action, its effect is relatively short-lived, and antidepressants usually are required to prevent relapse. Although the treatment itself is considered safe, there are risks from the anesthetic agents, and some patients suffer short term memory loss following treatment.


We can remove this stigma, or at least we attempt to increase exposure to the facts, by organizing seminars and attaching names and faces to various disorders. The stigma and stereotypes surrounding mental illness are now gradually fading. All these factors contribute to encouraging those with mental illness and other mental health concerns to feel empowered to discuss their issues and seek help.

Psychological well-being centers with instructive projects that raise open mindfulness about the facts of mental illnesses, open up fruitful treatment modalities for OCD, ADHD, depression, and dietary problems.

Associations, for example, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that work with media and news associations to bring issues to light about psychological maladjustments and television programs and narratives concentrating on the lives and battles of individuals with bipolar messes, over the top habitual problems and different sicknesses help us to understand in more detail.

The rise of VIPs who are starting to talk about their emotional wellness issues in open gatherings also gives those with depression more confidence to speak out.

Bonus video: “Depression: the lethal stigma”


Clinical Pharmacology, B. Katzung

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