Depression is very common - one in five people become depressed at some point in their lives. Anyone can get low, but someone is said to be suffering from depression when these feelings don’t go away quickly or become so bad they interfere with their everyday life.
Depression can last for a few months. You can get better & it is usual to recover from depression, but it is also common for the depression to return. Episodes can last several months (or even longer in some instances).
Sometimes there may be an obvious reason for becoming depressed, sometimes not. The reason may seem obvious – a relationship breakdown or a bereavement or even the birth of a child – sometimes it is not clear. Either way, these feelings can become so bad that you need help.
The feeling of depression is deeper, longer and more unpleasant than the short episodes of unhappiness that everyone experiences occasionally.
There can be:
•persistent sadness or low mood
•not being able to enjoy things
•losing interest in life
•finding it harder to make decisions
•not coping with things that used to be easy
•feeling restless and agitated;
•loss of appetite and weight
•difficulties getting to sleep
•loss of sex drive
•thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Doctors grade depression as mild, moderate and severe to help them decide which treatment to choose.
You may not realise how depressed you are because it has come on so gradually. You may try to struggle on and cope by keeping busy. This can make you even more stressed and exhausted. Physical pains, such as constant headaches or sleeplessness, then start. Sometimes these physical symptoms can be the first sign of a depression.
•Talking treatments: there are several different types of talking treatments. Counselling enables you to talk about your feelings to a professional.
•Cognitive Behavioural Therapy helps people overcome the negative thoughts that can sometimes be the cause of depression.
•Medication: Antidepressants can help if your depression is severe or goes on for a long time. They can help you to feel less anxious and cope better so that you can start to enjoy life and deal with problems effectively again. It is important to remember that you won't feel the effect of antidepressants straight away. People often don't notice any improvement in their mood for 2 or 3 weeks.