Depression: sadness or disease?
Depression is one of the most frequent mental disorders defined under commonly accepted international classifications of injuries, diseases and causes of death. At the same time, the word “depression” is increasingly used in colloquial language to describe diverse subjective negative emotions, such as sadness, sorrow or gloom. What is depression, then, in modern medicine? A disease with a strictly defined biological aetiology, a condition with an established psychopathological image and neurophysiological pathomechanisms, a condition qualitatively distinct from health or, rather, a complex reaction to broadly defined stress, accumulation of negative emotions and weakening of the body’s vitality? The aim of the paper is to present the latest medical views on depression, with emphasising the difference between a depressive disorder and sadness. Two perspectives are taken into account – that of the patient and that of the doctor.