Well in Mind: What is Depression?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month!

What is Depression?

Depressive disorder is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires understanding and medical care.  Some will only experience one depressive episode in a lifetime, but for most, depressive disorder recurs. Without treatment, episodes may last a few months to several years.


Depressive disorder changes how one functions day-to-day, and typically lasts more than two weeks. Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of energy
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Hopelessness or guilty thoughts
  • Changes in movement (less activity or agitation)
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts


Depression does not have a single cause. It can be triggered by a life crisis, physical illness or something else—but it can also occur spontaneously. Scientists believe several factors can contribute to depression:

  • Trauma
  • Genetics
  • Life circumstances
  • Brain changes
  • Other medical conditions


Although depressive disorder can be a devastating illness, it often responds to treatment. The key is to get a specific evaluation and treatment plan. Safety planning is important for individuals who have suicidal thoughts. Treatment plans can include any or a combination of the following:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Exercise 
  • Brain stimulation therapies
  • Light therapy

Well In Mind is here for you.  Call 815-933-2240 to schedule an appointmentor to ask about your EAP benefits.