Everything You Need to Know About Depression
What is Depression?
Mental health problems are a lot more common than most people believe. Research shows they can affect one in four people each year. Although some people believe depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition, they’re wrong. It is a real illness with real symptoms.
While most people go through periods of feeling down, when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms to Look Out For?
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal and that life is no longer worth living. You can be depressed without even realising and you may not notice until someone close to you does.
A key sign can be a sudden change in a person’s day-to-day lifestyle. Hobbies and interests fall to the wayside, your living environment becomes untidy or you stop looking after yourself in terms of bathing, washing clothes, and grooming.
The way a person speaks can change from sounding engaged in a conversation or topic you are normally interested in, to sounding disinterested and giving low-effort, one-word responses. You may lack the ability to concentrate during conversations, watching TV or reading books.
You may experience a change in appetite or diet, eating more than usual or rarely feeling hungry. Sleep can also be an issue. You can find yourself sleeping too much but feeling constantly tired or you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.
If you’re worried you may be suffering from depression, the NHS online depression self-assessment is a useful tool.
What Causes Depression?
Depression can be caused by many things including drugs and alcohol, work problems, relationship issues and even just having a stationary lifestyle. The most common cause is a major change in your life such as a bereavement, losing a job or having a baby. However, it can also be the result of a series of minor life events that have built up. You may find it hard to pinpoint when your depression started or what caused it. Depression and a lot of other mental health disorders can also run in families.
What Treatment is Available for Depression?
There are many different treatments available for depression. The most common is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT. This is mainly used to treat mild to moderate depression in conjunction with antidepressants. You can learn more about CBT here.
Finding the right treatment can take a bit of time. What works for someone else might not work for you, but there will always be other options available.
A change of habits or lifestyle can help deter depression. Sometimes you only need to make minor changes to things that are having a negative effect, but others might require a lot more adjustment.
There are a lot of scientific studies that show that exercise can help combat and relieve depression. It’s not something that will work on it’s own and it doesn’t mean you’ve got to go to the gym and start bench pressing or running miles to feel better. Even something simple like just going for regular walks can be very beneficial.
Something as simple as talking can also be a big help if you’re struggling with depression. Many people go through life feeling depressed at points, but never telling anyone about it. Sharing can help yourself and others feel connected. Try talking to people who are going through or have gone through what you’re experiencing. They can share what’s worked for them and you can do the same.
If you’d like to speak to someone about your mental health or you’re interested in our services, please get in touch.