Depression is not a sign of weakness. It is not the same as a passing sadness or a bad mood; nor is it the sort of thing one can just shake offor will away. The person who suffers from depression is often plagued by feelings of emptiness, a lack of enthsiasm, and an inability to enjoy everyday pleasures.

The symptoms of depression show up in a number of different areas and include too much or too little sleep and appetite, fatigue, irritability, low self-esteem, guilt, sorrow, pessimism, difficulties in concentrating and/or making decisions, meaningless or strained relationships, and lack of enjoyment or satisfaction.

The research on depression is quite rich and there have been many theories on how to best treat it. Most of the popular strategies tend to focus on remedying the symptoms without paying much attention to the emotional and psychological causes.

Unfortunately, one of two things tends to happen: either the person suffering from depression becomes dependent on the treatment (especially when, for example, medications are prescribed over a long period of time), or the benefits of a quick fix are short-lived and the symptoms pop up again in other areas.

The most beneficial strategy for dealing with depression is a psychotherapy that helps you understand and work through the roots of the difficulty. What are the sadness and guilt about and what feeds them? How does the depression relate to your own life and relationships? What resources or skills do you have now, and as an adult, to handle the difficulties that most likely began at a much earlier stage and that you didn't know how to treat at the time?

These questions are not easy to answer. But as you begin to think about them, you also begin to understand the causes of your depression; you learn how to contain its symptoms and diminish the possibility of it happening again.