Depression can be a feeling, a symptom, or a mental state. It is usually not a disease! The DSM lists numerous disorders of which
depressed mood is a symptom. Even then, none of these various diagnoses can be considered to be a singular entity with a singular
cause. Why then does one often read statements that talk about "depression" as if it's a single disease with one cause and
one treatment? This is clearly a massive over-simplification for marketing purposes. Sometimes, in attempts to remove the stigma
associated with mental health disorders, the message "it's not your fault, it's a disease" is overplayed. It is not helpful to anyone
to distort reality in order to sell a point.
In clinical practice, it is usually difficult to pin one diagnosis on an individual.
Most people who come with depressed feelings show many years of struggling with variable moods or personal issues, with either a build-up
of past issues or stressful recent events precipitating more consistent depressed feelings. It is also very difficult for any clinician
to ascertain in just one interview, how serious or consistent the person's mood or symptoms may be. The clinical picture one sees
on initial evaluation may change substantially in a follow-up visit. This is especially true in adolescents and young adults. It takes
the most expert clinician a minimum of two full evaluation sessions to be able to mostly understand the issues involved and to
make a reasonably accurate diagnosis. No one should ever be told after a cursory evaluation that they "have depression".