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Last Updated on November 9, 2022


Endogenous Depression – Depression was once divided into two categories: endogenous (meaning “from within”) and exogenous (meaning “from without”). These names were chosen to indicate whether depression was caused by internal (genetic) or external (environmental) factors.

However, the question remains — what is endogenous depression? This is a subtype of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). It is characterized by prolonged and intense feelings of sadness. These emotions have a negative impact on mood and behavior, as well as a variety of physical functions such as sleep and appetite. Every year, nearly 7% of adults in the United States suffer from MDD.

What is Endogenous Depression?

Endogenous depression occurs when there is no stress or trauma present. In other words, there is no obvious external cause. Instead, it could be caused primarily by genetic and biological factors. As a result, endogenous depression is also known as “biologically based” depression.

In general, the causes of this type of depression are chemical changes in the brain. Changes that cause emotional disorders without involving the environment. Endogenous depression occurs when the production of endorphins, which are responsible for pleasure sensations, is inhibited.

What is A Characteristic of Endogenous Depression?

What distinguishes this type of depression is that the symptoms appear without apparent explanation to the person. They may appear as mild at first, but can quickly worsen. Keeping this in mind, the average age of onset is in one’s mid-twenties, and women are nearly twice as likely as men to suffer from depression.

Endogenous depression characteristics include:

  • Pervasive feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Apathy (loss of interest in one’s usual hobbies or relationships)
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts to harm yourself
  • Keeping yourself apart from others
  • Significant changes in appetite and weight
  • Body aches (headaches, gastrointestinal distress, muscle tightness)
  • Inadequate motivation

How to Diagnose Endogenous Depression?

To diagnose depression, medical and mental health professionals use a specific set of criteria. These guidelines can be found in the fifth edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5). Your physician may assess you for depression in the office, but they may also refer you to a specialist in diagnosing and treating mental illness, such as a psychiatrist.

Getting a diagnosis of depression usually involves several key components. It is common for you to be asked questions about:

  1. How do you physically and emotionally feel?
  2. What your typical day looks like?
  3. Whether anyone in your family suffers from a mental illness.
  4. What your diet and lifestyle are like, as well as your social activities?
  5. What do you do for a living?
  6. Whether or not you take any medications or substances?

Your doctor may also conduct a physical exam and run lab tests to rule out any medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

One of the most important questions you’ll be asked is whether you’ve ever had suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide, which is a possible result of untreated depression.

Endogenous depression is diagnosed when a person has experienced intense sadness and/or loss of interest in their usual activities for at least two weeks, as well as several other symptoms of depression (such as difficulty sleeping, change in appetite or weight, and difficulty concentrating).

Your diagnosis may change from time to time. If you don’t respond well to depression treatment, for example, your doctor may want to reevaluate your symptoms to see if you have other mental health illnesses, such as bipolar disorder.

What are Endogenous Depression’s Treatment Options?

It is not easy to overcome endogenous depression, but symptoms can be treated with a combination of medication and therapy and especially understanding what is endogenous depression.


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are the most commonly used medications to treat people with endogenous depression. Some people are prescribed tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), but these medications aren’t as widely used as they once were. These medications raise levels of certain brain chemicals, which reduces depressive symptoms.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, entails regular meetings with a therapist. This type of therapy can assist you in dealing with your condition and any associated issues. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT) are two of the main types of psychotherapy.

  • CBT can assist you in replacing unhealthy, negative beliefs with healthy, positive ones. You can improve how your brain responds to negative situations by deliberately practicing positive thinking and limiting negative thoughts.
  • IPT may assist you in resolving difficult relationships that may be contributing to your condition.

In most cases, treating people with endogenous depression with a combination of medication and therapy is effective.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT):

If medication and therapy fail to improve symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used. ECT involves placing electrodes on the head that send electrical pulses to the brain, causing a brief seizure. This type of treatment is not as frightening as it sounds, and it has greatly improved over the years. It may aid in the treatment of endogenous depression by altering chemical interactions in the brain.

Lifestyle changes:

Certain changes to your lifestyle and daily activities can also help alleviate the symptoms of endogenous depression. Understanding what is endogenous depression and how it can affect you and the people in your life is the first step towards the road to betterment. Even if the activities are unpleasant at first, your body and mind will adapt. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Go outside and engage in some physical activity, such as hiking or biking.
  • Engage in activities that you enjoyed prior to becoming depressed.
  • Spend time with others, including friends and family.
  • Create a journal.
  • Each night, get at least six hours of sleep.

What is Endogenous Depression’s Prognosis?

When people with endogenous depression follow their treatment plan, the majority of them improve. It usually takes several weeks for symptoms to improve after starting an antidepressant regimen. Others may need to try several different types of antidepressants before they notice a difference.

The length of recovery is also determined by how quickly treatment is received. Endogenous depression can last for months or even years if left untreated. However, once treated, symptoms can disappear in two to three months.

Even if your symptoms start to improve, it’s critical to continue taking all prescribed medications unless the provider who prescribed your medication tells you to stop. Terminating treatment too soon can result in relapse or withdrawal symptoms.


In contrast to depression brought on by environmental stressors, endogenous depression is brought on by a person’s genetic or biological factors. People who experience endogenous depression might not be aware of their sudden onset of melancholy. People who have this condition frequently express feeling worn out, uninspired, and unable to concentrate. They might also experience difficulties with eating and sleeping.

For those who are suffering from endogenous depression, there are numerous treatment options available, including prescription drugs, psychotherapy, ECT, and lifestyle modifications.

Revive Research Institute says:

Whether your symptoms appear to be endogenous or exogenous, it’s still important to take action and get help if you’re suffering from depression. Our medical professionals or mental health experts can evaluate your symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and suggest treatments to help you feel better.

Dr. Anusia Thourani

Dr. Anusia is a Dentist and currently working as a Recruitment Associate at Revive Research Institute. Her cheerful personality and enthusiasm for her work in this organization make her a great part of our team.

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