What is Depression?
Depression could affect any of us at any time, with one in five people in the UK reporting feeling depressed or anxious*, so, if you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to manage the symptoms of depression and make a full recovery.
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up. Most of us will, at some point in our lives, experience low mood or feeling down, which can last a few days or even stretch into a couple of weeks. However, when we’re depressed, our low mood and other related mental and physical symptoms will carry on persistently for weeks and weeks, months or even years with no let up. If we experience episodes of depression, our whole life and relationships can be affected, and everyday tasks that were once easy can become overwhelming.
How we think can even affect the way we feel and our emotions. Our thoughts can have a knock-on impact on how we react or behave. We can develop a negative stance on life, which makes us prone to being emotionally overloaded, and this can lead to low mood, anxiety and depression.
Depression can cause a wide range of possible symptoms, both mental and physical. While there are no set symptoms of depression – each person’s experience of the condition is different – but here are some possible signs:
- Feeling constantly unhappy or hopeless
- Feeling lonely and disconnected from others
- Losing interest in previously enjoyed activities or hobbies
- Being very tearful
- Feeling continuously anxious
- Constantly tired / exhausted
- Sleeping badly / insomnia
- Having no appetite
- Experiencing physical aches and pains
- Loss of self-esteem
- Loss of sex drive
- Loss of motivation
- Difficulty making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatment and support
There are various treatments and support that you can access to help manage depression. Lifestyle changes can also play a key role in managing or recovering from depression. Making positive lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise, improving sleep, cutting down on alcohol and eating healthily can all have a significant impact on your mental health. However, lifestyle changes are just one of a number of ways to treat depression. Some people may benefit from talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Counselling as well as a more traditional method of taking medication for moderate or more severe depression cases.
It’s about finding whatever works for the individual, but the important thing is to remember that support is available. You don’t have to struggle alone. If your depression is severe and you are having suicidal thoughts, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 or NHS on 111
*ONS, National Well-being Measures, September 2018
Is your mood affecting your daily tasks?