Updated: Aug 12
Depression is a disorder that anyone can experience. But to this day, there are many out there who don't understand depression and look at it as a sign of weakness. We aim to change this notion by educating the world on what depression really is and how it can be treated. After reading this guide we hope you'll be able to catch any signs of depression.
What is depression?
Many people believe they are depressed when they may actually be feeling sadness or simply feeling down. So how is depression different? Depression is a long lasting low mood disorder. It affects your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure or take interest in activities.
Depression does not go away after some time. When someone feels sad, their mood may change a few hours later after talking to friends, engaging in hobbies or watching movies. But depression often prevents a person's mood from being able to shift.
But there are varying levels of depression. A doctor may categorise your depression as: mild, moderate or severe.
Is depression common?
Depression is actually one of the most common mental health illnesses. It can affect anyone of any age group, even children. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 264 million people affected by depression. And in fact, this number is likely much larger because not everyone seeks medical help when experiencing depression.
What are the different types of depression?
Below are some of the different types of depression.
Depressive Episodes: When your doctor makes an informal diagnosis they may say you're going through a "depressive episode". And at that point they will categorise it as either mild, moderate or severe.
Reactive Depression: This is when your depression might have been caused by a particular event such as a divorce, job loss or bereavement.
Recurrent Depressive Disorder: If you have repeated episodes of depression it is a recurrent depressive disorder. At this point it could change from mild to moderate or severe.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This is when depression effects you during a specific season; typically winter.
Manic Depression / Bi-polar disorder: Though this illness is considered different to depression, people with bi-polar disorder (previously called manic depression) experience highs (mania) and lows (depression). So depression is a symptom of bi-polar disorder.
The Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Below are the signs of depression. A depressed person may not experience them all, but if you have a mix of them on a regular basis then there's a good chance you are depressed.
Low energy - to the point you're unable to do anything.
Losing interest in activities you enjoy
Loss of appetite
Low self-esteem or self-confidence
Feeling constant guilt or unworthiness
Loss of interest in sex and relationships
Having thoughts of self-harm or suicide. Or wishing you weren't alive.
When should you see a doctor?
See your GP if you experience the symptoms of depression most of the day everyday for a period of over 2 weeks.
Doctors will refer to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) to determine whether your case matches up with the symptoms set out in the classification.
How Depression is Treated
While your GP can diagnose your depression, additional treatment will be needed to allow you to live with the condition. In severe cases, antidepressant medication will be prescribed, These medications can have side-effects so they are typically reserved for cases where the person is at risk.
Aside from medication, the best treatments for depression are many forms of therapy.
Below is a list of therapies that offer longterm benefits for depression. You may also click the links to find out more.
These are all treatments offered by us at Psympatico, whether it's offered at one of our drop-in locations or at our long stay treatment centre. Just get in touch with us if you are someone in need.
How to support someone with depression
If you know someone going through depression then you may also be an important part of their treatment. Take the time to understand their symptoms and be aware of possible triggers they may have. Here's a short list of things you can do to support them:
Encourage them to get professional help.
Don't dismiss their feelings.
If they show signs of self-harm, take it seriously and get them help.
Keep them away from alcohol and drugs.
Stay up to date with their medication and ensure they are taking it if you are around them daily.
Encourage them to exercise. Maybe take them out for walks.
Offer them emotional support and listen to them if they open up to you.
This concludes our guide on depression. If you are in urgent need of help in the UK then you can find your local crisis helpline via this page on the NHS website.
If you'd like to explore therapies that could help you, then you may call us on; 0330 133 2597
-Written by Gary S