Feeling sad and depressed is a natural response to setbacks and loss. For most of us, over time we learn to overcome our problems or accept changes in our lives. But for others, the sense of despair and hopelessness can become so severe that it dominates their lives and cripples them from living a full life. It affects the affects the way a person eats and sleeps, how one feels about oneself, and how one thinks about things. Depression of this degree is not just a passing 'blue mood,' but an illness that needs to be treated. It is not something that can be simply willed away.

A person with depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, may experience these symptoms for more than two weeks:


​​​Dysthymia is the chronic form of persistent, low-grade depression occurring over a continuous period. It does not have an episodic pattern as seen in Major Depressive Disorder. Research has shown that natural recovery from dysthymia is seen only in 10% of the cases. A five-year follow up study has shown that people who have untreated dysthymia developed Major Depressive Disorder (20%) and Bipolar II disorder(15%). The persistent symptoms of dysthymia can also affect their personal relationships and their work performance. Hence, professional help is required to address this under-diagnosed illness.

Holiday Blues

The “holiday blues” is a common phenomenon when people feel stressed or overwhelmed nearing the festive season, which starts towards year-end. The absence of close connections may be especially difficult to cope with during the season of gatherings. Societal expectations that surround the festive season and what it "should" feel like may create a sense of burden, as we find ourselves caught up in giving gifts as well as the constant socialising. People may feel a sense of loss and end up becoming withdrawn or isolated. The end of the year is also a time when people look back on their accomplishments in the past year and decide about resolutions for the new year. People who are highly self-critical or already depressed may feel worse during this time if they rate themselves lower in their accomplishments than others would, or blame themselves for not meeting their own or others' expectations.

​​Depression is highly treatable. When depression is recognised and treated, a person’s quality of life can be greatly improved. Treatment for depression has to be approached from a multimodal perspective, namely medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes and having a support system.​