"When depression is recognized early and treated appropriately, it usually responds well to treatment".


Depression is a mental disorder characterized primarily by low mood and feelings of sadness, associated with alterations in behavior, activity level and thinking.

It is one of the most frequent pathologies in Primary Care and it is the first cause of psychiatric care and of disability derived from mental problems.

It appears more frequently in women and in people under 45 years old. 

Treatment with psycho-pharmaceuticals and/or psychotherapy manages, in most cases, to partially or totally alleviate the symptoms. Once the symptoms of depression have been overcome, it is advisable to continue under antidepressant treatment for as long as necessary to avoid possible relapses. In some cases, the treatment should be prolonged for life.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The core symptoms of depression are pathological sadness, loss of interest and ability to enjoy, and a decrease in vitality that limits activity level and produces exaggerated tiredness, which appears even after small efforts.

In addition, other symptoms may appear, such as feelings of guilt or disability, irritability, pessimism about the future, ideas of death or suicide, loss of confidence in oneself or in others, decreased concentration and memory, restlessness, sleep disorders and decreased appetite and libido, among others.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Pathological sadness.
  • Loss of interest.
  • Diminished vitality.
  • Exaggerated tiredness.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have a depression

Types of depression

The depressions can be easily classified into 3 types.

The major depression has a more biological or endogenous origin, with a greater genetic component and less influence of external factors. It can appear in a recurrent manner and, in some cases, has a certain relationship with the season.

In contrast, there is reactive depression, caused by poor adaptation to stressful environmental circumstances.

Dysthymia, formerly known as depressive neurosis, which is characterized by a depressive picture of lesser intensity than the previous ones, of chronic evolution (more than two years), without asymptomatic periods and with feelings of incapacity and somatization. This last type of depression seems to be more closely related to the way of being and to prolonged stress.

Finally, there is a type of depression called masked depression, which instead of manifesting itself with the symptoms already referred to, appears as organic discomfort - somatization - or changes in behavior.

What are the causes of depression?

Except for some cases of depression associated with organic diseases (Parkinson's disease, tuberculosis, etc.), depression is generally caused by the interaction of certain biological factors (hormonal changes, alterations in brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, genetic components, etc.), with psychosocial factors (stressful circumstances in emotional, work or relationship life) and personality factors (especially their psychological defense mechanisms).

How is depression diagnosed?

Being at a certain point sadder or in the lowest mood is not enough for a diagnosis of depression.

For this reason, it is necessary that the intensity of the symptoms, their duration (at least 2 weeks) and the disability they generate, are of a sufficient entity to affect the normal or adequate functioning of the person.

  • Diagnostic interview.
  • Discard organic disease by means of: diagnostic tests and assessment by other specialists.
  • Psychodiagnosis tests.

How is depression treated?

The ideal treatment of depression will depend on the specific characteristics of the subtype of depression and will be, as always, personalized, so an adequate doctor-patient relationship is essential. Basically, treatment consists of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy.

With psychotherapy, security, confidence, understanding and emotional support are offered; distorted thoughts are corrected; the temporary character is explained and the situation is de-dramatized; the patient's participation in the healing process is achieved and, finally, the patient is taught to foresee possible relapses.

As pharmacological treatment, antidepressants, anxiolytics and other coadjutant drugs are used, such as thyroid hormones, lithium carbonate or psychostimulants.

Finally, the electroconvulsive treatment, which is carried out in some circumstances (severe major depression of the adult, resistant depression), under anesthetic control and myorelaxation. It is a safe technique and its side effects on memory are usually mild and transitory. For operational, economic and socio-cultural reasons it is reserved for very specific indications.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology of the
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Through a multidisciplinary work, the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology assists patients in a comprehensive way: it identifies the main causes of the disease and provides an individual approach with the most appropriate and effective treatments. 

Thanks to the experience of its team, it is able to offer the most advanced biological therapies, as well as an adequate psychotherapeutic orientation. In this way, the patient is helped to solve both personality problems and alterations in interpersonal and family dynamics.

Organized in specialized units

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Integral evaluation of the patient.
  • Personalized diagnosis.
  • Multidisciplinary team.

Our team of professionals