Definition: Depression is a mood disorder where a range of mental conditions are characterised by low moods, feelings of sadness and aversion to activity.
Depression affects different people in different ways although there may be similarities each person will experience depression differently. The common signs of depression are having a low mood and feeling bad about your self. If you think you may be depressed then it is important to contact your GP who can help you. A doctor may refer to depression as 'mild' 'moderate' or 'severe' this is fairly common and will help them in knowing which treatments may work best.
There is more then one type of depression although each have similar symptoms:
- Seasonal affective disorder - This is a seasonal depression as the name suggests, it is related to the length of the day. It usually occurs during the autumn and winter period as the days get shorter and starts to improve when the days get longer and brighter.
- Postnatal depression - Postnatal depression is a serious problem and can develop from the day the baby is born and even two years after the baby is born. Some mothers may experience 'baby blues' but this normally clears after a few days.
- Low mood
- Feelings of despair
- Restless and/or agitated
- Self harm
- Negative thought pattern
- Feeling tired
- Change to eating habits
- Changes to sleeping pattern
A person who has been diagnosed as severely depressed may experience psychotic episodes, this can include disillusion and hallucinations.
There is no real evidence to suggest any one thing can cause depression, many researchers believe it is a combination of factors, social and environmental, genetics, hormonal and events that a person has been through. This could even be an event from their childhood that has led them to have a negative thought pattern.
There is a wide range of treatments that can be offered to a person with depression. A GP may offer antidepressants and give information on local support groups. Talking therapy can be given on the NHS, private healthcare providers and sometimes charities. Counselling can also be offered and if needed a psychiatrist, in cases of severe depression electro-convulsion therapy can be used if the treatment is urgent or if other treatments have not worked.
There are many websites that can provide help and support, if you or someone you know has depression then please take a look at the following;
If you have suicidal thoughts or have are feeling emotionally very low and need to speak to someone you can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 this service is 24 hour.