Depression: Symptoms, causes, treatments, and more

Could you be suffering from depression? Read through for the signs and symptoms - and what help is available

Depression

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

What is depression?

Depression is more than feeling unhappy for a few days; it is when you’re persistently sad for weeks or months.

According to Depression UK, depression is “a mood disorder characterised by low mood and a wide range of other possible symptoms, which will vary from person to person”.

In short, it is a real illness, with real symptoms, and will often require treatment. It is not something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

The 10 psychological symptoms of depression

    The 10 physical symptoms of depression

      REMEMBER: There are many other symptoms of depression and they can vary widely from person to person, so you may not have every symptom listed above.

      If you experience some of these symptoms for most of the day, every day for more than two weeks, you should seek help from your GP.

      What causes depression?

      Depression can happen at any age, and, while more women are diagnosed with depression than are men, this may be because women are more likely to seek treatment.

      Factors that may increase the risk of developing depression include:

        REMEMBER: There is no single cause of depression and it has many different triggers. It is not a sign of weakness - it is a real condition, and if you believe that you or someone you know are suffering from depression, please do seek advice from your doctor.

        What does it feel like to be clinically depressed?

        The below video from Mind sees Hannah, Helen, Rishi, Nathan and Georgina talking about what it feels like to have depression, how they've learnt to cope and how their friends and family help them.

        How is depression diagnosed?

        If you are experiencing consistent symptoms of depression, then it is important to speak to your GP; the sooner you seek treatment, the sooner your depression will lift.

        How will the doctor test you for depression?

        There is no physical test for depression.

        Your GP will ask you lots of questions about your general health, how your depression is affecting you mentally and physically, and about mood triggers.

        REMEMBER: Be honest with your doctor and describe your symptoms / how they are affecting you in as detailed a way as possible.

        Any discussion you have will be confidential, unless your GP believes there is a significant risk of harm to yourself or others.

        How is depression treated?

        There are many different treatments available for depression, and your doctor will choose one for you depending on the severity of your symptoms.

        Mind have recommended the following guidelines for the treatment of depression:

          What can I do to help lift my depression?

          Exercise is very good for lifting your mood levels, so experts recommend taking part in physical activities for at least 30 minutes every day.

          They also suggest reaching out to friends and family for help - even sending a text or making a phone call can help to prevent you from feeling isolated and remind you that you are not alone.

          They also suggest…

            Where can I find help for depression?

            1) Mind UK

            PHONE: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)

            EMAIL: info@mind.org.uk

            2) Samaritans

            PHONE: 116 123 (24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

            EMAIL: jo@samaritans.org

            3) Depression UK

            4) NHS

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