Depression is often described as a psychological disease. There are several types of depression, ranging from mild to severe. It's hard to identify factors that cause depression. However there have been many studies done to try and understand the underlying causes of depression to help prevent it. Moreover, more studies have been performed on what type of medical assistance helps to treat depression best.
The most noticeable symptom of depression is feeling sad for a long period of time. This involves feeling sad for at least two weeks. However, with most depressed people, this symptom lasts for much longer. This symptom in itself brings on many other conditions; for example, feeling sad may trigger suicidal thoughts.
Generally, two types of suicidal people have been identified: those who are serious about it and those who want attention. This is not to say one type is more severe than the other ñ both require attention and care by close relatives, friends and professionals. In the beginning, most people with depression are not serious about it, but suicidal thoughts are triggered by their long depression period. They may show this through reading many books and other materials on the subject of suicide. They may start talking about it more often in daily conversation. These are all signs that they are thinking of suicide and want some help. In fact, it's very important to talk to them about it, even casually, to show them that you have interest in their lives.
Contrast this with the most serious suicidal people ñ these people do not talk or mention their suicidal tendencies because they'd like to act on them and they want no one to ruin their plan. These people can be helped too. They require more attention, especially more medical and professional attention. Simply talking to them about suicide may not help.
Depression has many other symptoms that vary from person to person. Some people may lose their appetite or gain more appetite. They may lose or gain weight unexpectedly. They may start forming different habits ñ like listening to different music or gaining new friends. Of course, this isn't a sure sign of a depression, but when many of these elements are combined they may be warning signs.
Depression may have different causes for different people. Some major reasons for depression have been identified, like social isolation, substance abuse, stress, a death in the family and disability. When more than one symptom occurs at the same time, the risk of depression is higher.
When trying to help others with their depression, be very empathetic. They may need more attention and support, but they don't need anyone telling them how to feel and that life is rosy. Everyone can escape depression given the right conditions.