What is Depression?
Occasionally, we all feel low, sad, and unhappy and it can last from a couple of days to a week or longer. Sometimes there is a reason; however, from time to time, there isn’t one or at least it’s hard to identify. Difficult events and experiences will naturally leave us feeling low and experiencing negative feelings. Furthermore, our mood and general sense of wellbeing varies throughout our daily life. It is not something we can take for granted and we need to actively consider how our stress levels, relationships and lifestyles are contributing to how we feel. Depression is a common mental health condition than can develop when we feel unhappy, sad, stuck or trapped, dissatisfied, discontent, stressed and especially when we feel like there is nothing we can do to improve or change our circumstances. This negative state of mind can lead to a sense that life is pointless, meaningless and hopeless.
When is Depression a problem?
Depression is a problem when low mood persists for over two weeks. It can include feeling down, depressed, unhappy, irritable, inadequate, hopeless or having little interest or pleasure in doing the things you would normally do. Depression, when it is a problem,also tends to be accompanied by anxiety symptoms. Depression and anxiety are very closely linked as common mental health conditions. You may withdraw from social interaction, feel tired, lethargic and exhausted, or find it difficult to motivate yourself. You are also likely to notice a significant change in your confidence and pattern of eating, sleeping, ability to concentrate and make decisions. When this combination of distressing symptoms does not shift and is interfering with your daily life, then your depressive mood has become a problem.
Do I need to get help with my Depression?
Whatever the cause, if negative feelings don’t go away, are worse than usual, are too much for you to cope with, or are stopping you from carrying on with your daily life, you should look to make some changes and should seek professional help. Depression is a serious mental health condition, not a sign of weakness or something you can just ‘snap out of’. Depression can affect people in different ways and cause a variety of symptoms. Therefore, it is important not to minimise or be dismissive of your own individual experience. Getting help at the earliest possible time could mean that you understand your depression better and could prevent a more severe depression setting in.
What are the main symptoms of Depressive disorders?
The symptoms of depression can be complicated and vary widely between people. As a general rule, you feel depressed, sad, sometimes tearful, hopeless, and lose interest in things you used to enjoy. The symptoms persist for weeks or months and can be bad enough to interfere with your work, social and family life. You may start to rely on unhelpful behavioural patterns including substance misuse. Persistent depression can leave you feeling like life is not worth living, people would be better off without you, or that you are a burden on others.
If you think you are suffering from depression you should contact your GP to discuss your concerns. It can be incredibly helpful to talk to a someone you trust or a professional when you are feeling depressed. This initial contact can be a crucial first step as part of the healing process is reversing the initial depressive response to internalise your problems and withdraw from others. Treatments include psychological therapy and antidepressant medication. Self-help is also an essential component of your treatment
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