Are you suffering from depression?

Many people suffer from depression. Depression affects people of all ages and can be experienced by anyone. According to the Mental Health Foundation, anxiety and depression is the most common mental health condition suffered in the UK and 1 in 5 elderly people will suffer from depression.

What is depression?

Depression is not the same as experiencing low moods. Depression involves intense feelings of anxiety, inability to help yourself, hopelessness and negativity and it is not something that comes and goes but is a constant feeling.

What are the symptoms of depression? What to do if I recognise these symptoms in someone?

There are a number of symptoms associated with depression. This includes:

   tiredness and lethargy

   lack of concentration

   loss of appetite or overeating

   inability to find pleasure in activities you might normally enjoy

   intense sadness that persists and will not go away

   low self esteem

   trouble sleeping; waking up frequently or not being able to get up

   difficulty working and functioning day to day

   a sense of hopelessness

   harm to self

It is often very difficult for someone to recognise in themselves that they are depressed.  Often symptoms of depression are recognised by those we are close to such as family and friends. If you recognise four of these symptoms in yourself or someone else throughout the best part of a day, then seek professional help.

Who gets depressed?

Depression can be experienced by anyone. Children suffer from depression as do young people, up to adults of all ages including the elderly. According to Mind, 1 in 10 people suffer from depression and 1 in 20 people suffer from Clinical depression.

What causes depression?

Depression can be caused by a large number of factors. It can occur in response to a major life changing event such as an illness or bereavement.  It may relate back to earlier life experiences from childhood.  Depression can occur suddenly or develop more progressively over a longer period of time.  There are some chronic illnesses which are also linked to depression.

What types of depression are there?

Experiencing what is referred to as mild depression does not have a significant impact on your daily life. It is still possible to function, work, and sleep, for example.

Major or Clinical depression
Major, or clinical depression as it is often called has a significant impact on a person’s life.  Suffering from clinical depression requires close monitoring and can require long term intervention if there are risks of harm to self and suicide. Clinical depression can occur in isolated incidents but can occur several times in a lifetime.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

According to SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is officially recognised by Doctors and Psychiatrists as a medical condition that is thought to affect 2 million people in the UK and Ireland and over 12 Million people across Northern Europe. Many of the symptoms are similar to depression. Sometimes known as ‘winter depression’, SAD tends to incorporate the idea of more apparent symptoms of depression during the winter months, and relates to the intake of sunlight and vitamin D.

Postnatal depression

Postnatal depression is described as a severe change in mood in a woman after the birth of her child. It is not the same as what is described the baby blues where new mothers experience low moods after having a baby which often lasts a few days.  According to the organisation Mind, half of all new mothers suffer from baby blues. It is suggested that 10 to 15 per cent of women suffer from Post Natal Depression after giving birth.


An individual who has been diagnosed with bi-polar experiences extreme mood swings from high moods experiencing euphoria and elation to low moods and depression. With bi-polar, these opposite experiences are extreme. Bi-polar is a serious mental health issue. According to BipolarUK, what is instrumental to coping with bipolar is an early diagnosis, an acceptance of the illness and a willingness to adapt your lifestyle so you are in control of the symptoms as much as you can. Bi-Polar can be managed through approaches involving medication,  therapy, health care and self-care.

How can Depression be treated? How can you help yourself?

Depression can be treated in a number of different ways and the right treatment will vary from person to person and depending on individual circumstances. Your GP will be able to do a health assessment and will ask you questions about your general health and the symptoms that you are experiencing.

Counselling and psychotherapy

Experiencing depression is very, very difficult.  It is tough to care for someone with depression too. Often underneath depression are deep feelings and emotions. Understanding yourself and why you feel the way you do is something you can do in working with a therapist. Sometimes people have a sense of feeling stuck – an inability to see a way out of their current feelings or situation. In working in a therapeutic way you are able to talk to someone who is not involved in your life but is able to offer you the opportunity to work at your own pace in a safe and confidential environment.




Medication is one method that can help depression. However, it is often not the first choice for treatment. Sometimes treatment can involve a combination of therapy and medication. There is a wide range of different medication available for depression, but sometimes alternatives need to be explored when medication does not work.  This is a very specialist area. One place you could look for further information on this area is the Mental Health Foundation.

Looking after yourself

Self-care and looking after yourself is an important part of recovering from depression. Taking regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and getting adequate sleep are all essential ingredients of your personal care plan.