Stress Management > Depression > Diagnosis > Mental and emotional wellbeing

How does depression affect mental and emotional wellbeing?

Depression is a mental and emotional disorder marked by psychological symptoms including: a persistent depressed mood; feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and shame; distructive emotions such as anger, self-loathing and irritability; trouble keeping focused and motivated; loss of interest in daily activities and in extreme circumstances suicidal thoughts.

Depressed mood

A diagnosis of depression requires that a persistent depressed mood experienced for a minimum of two weeks. The mood is signalled both by a personal subjective report such as an individual reporting feeling sad, helpless or empty. In addition, observations made by others such as indicating a person appears detached, tearful or void.

Secondly, the depressed mood leads to a noticeable lack of interest in any activities that would ordinarily provide enjoyment. Often, a depressed individual will have difficulties conducting everyday tasks without distress or considerable effort. This is marked by significant psychomotor impairments.

Emotional distress

People who are depressed experience feelings of worthlessness, excessive or inappropriate guilt and helplessness for their situation. During an episode of depression, there is a constant state of rumination on thoughts and events that are perceived as negative. Part of this can be explained by examining the 'freeze' element of the Fight, Freeze, Flight response.

Suicidal thoughts

Sometimes, an extreme fear of death can arise as a result of being depressed.

In some severe cases of Chronic Depression, thoughts of death with suicidal ideation may arise. Thoughts and feelings vary with the severity and cause of the depression, suicidal thoughts could be without a specific intention or suicide attempt.