Because there is so much written about depression and so many products that claim to have a positive effect on depression it is very easy to use the term incorrectly. What is needed is a more simple definition for medical depression that separates it from a simple bad mood.
Depression is a major medical illness. It has physical symptoms such as lack of appetite, drastic changes in weight, reduced energy levels, inability to focus, and disturbed sleeping patterns.
Depression is a recognized disorder of both the brain and nervous system that results in a loss of interest in life and its pleasures. A condition of the brain and nervous system, it manifests itself with a sense of hopelessness, pessimism, and overall sadness.
Unlike a bad mood, or a bad attitude, clinical depression is an illness where both psychological and medical factors are in play. There are many symptoms and indicators that indicate depression. These include reduced sexual interest, interrupted body rhythms, sluggish mental processes, body pain, and intrusive thoughts.
It is a problem that the word "depressed" is used to describe not only the medical condition but a bad mood as well. This dual usage easily causes confusion between the two situations and leads some to believe that a clinical depression, with all its attendant difficulties, is really no more serious than a bad mood that will pass in a day or so. Anyone who has dealt with being depressed is very aware that there is little, if any, similarity between the two situations.
This using the same word to describe two completely separate situations has led to many people underestimating the severity of medical depression. If it is like a bad mood, they reason, why can't the person just exercise some willpower and pull themselves out of it?
Unfortunately it is rarely, if ever, possible for someone to cure medical depression by themselves. The symptoms are just too overwhelming.