Understanding Depression

We often use the term, “I’m depressed” to describe the days when we feel out of sorts. Everyone feels sad and upset sometimes, but when you feel persistently down for weeks, even months, rather than a few days, you could be suffering from depression.

Estimations claim that 6 million people – that’s about 1 in 5 - in the UK suffer from depression at some point in their life.

Depression is a serious condition that can affect every aspect of someone’s life. Many people do not know how to recognise the illness in others or themselves. Understanding depression can be an important first step to recovery. A lack of understanding can mean people stay ill for longer and, in some cases, become more seriously unwell.

Sometimes when people are depressed, they find it hard to believe that treatment will help and cannot imagine ever getting any better. But, the sooner someone gets help and treatment, the sooner the depression will start to lift

In its mildest form, depression can mean a period of low spirits. It might not necessarily stop someone from leading his or her life, but it makes everything seem so much harder, even pointless, and less worthwhile.

In its more serious form, depression can make someone feel utterly helpless and hopeless. There can also be some physical symptoms, with mild to strong suicidal ideation. It is imperative that people realise there is help available to overcome such a debilitating illness.

Depression for men

Depression in men often shows up differently to how it does in women. For men, there can still be some stigma attached to showing and talking about their feelings. Often, they find it difficult to admit they need help. If they do admit they have a problem, many will insist on dealing with it themselves.

Depression for women

Twice as many women than men have a diagnosis of depression. Women’s bodies go through a lot more changes during menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.

It is important for everyone to realise, there is nothing weak about depression; it is an illness. Like many other physical illnesses, very often it needs a period of treatment by medication and sometimes therapy.

Depression in Teenagers

Experts say, only 1 in 5 teenagers get the help they need. While some appear sad, irritability rather than depression is often the noticeable symptom. Depressed teenagers can appear grumpy and hostile, and can display a short temper. Unexplained aches and pains are a common complaint. Untreated, these often-misunderstood depressive symptoms can lead to problems at home, school, with substance abuse, self-loathing, and self-harming

The signs & symptoms of Teenage Depression

· Sadness & feeling hopeless
· Irritability, anger and hostility
· Tearfulness & crying
· Withdrawing from family & friends
· Loss of interest in activities
· Changes in eating & sleeping patterns
· Restlessness & agitation
· Feeling worthless and guilty
· Apathy
· Bad concentration
Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression and Older People

Difficult physical changes later in life can lead to depression in older people, including bereavement, failing health, painful arthritic and other conditions. However, depression is not a normal part of ageing and help is available via the family GP.