Everyone feels low from time to time, but depression is different, depression is an illness that affects day-to-day life. Depression is a common mental illness with mixed anxiety and depression being the most widely diagnosed mental health disorder in UK. 

One in five older people will suffer depression and it is said that one in three UK women will take antidepressants in their lifetime.

Despite it being widely recognised as a serious condition, and it occurring so often in our society, there are still many myths and misunderstandings surrounding the disorder. Depression is not something a person can just snap out of and it is not a choice or emotional weakness, it is a diagnosable illness.

The good news is depression can be treated and the majority of depression sufferers make a full recovery and live a full and healthy life.

In short

Depression can be diagnosed as mild, moderate or severe. The quicker it is diagnosed and treated the more promising the outlook for swift recovery. Signs and symptoms of depression can include:

  • Loss of interest 
  • Loss of motivation/enthusiasm
  • Lack of enjoyment
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Sadness/tearfulness
  • Black/bleak outlook - unable to see positivity in future
  • Difficulties making decisions
  • Consuming guilt
  • Low self-esteem
  • Tiredness/lethargy
  • Sleeping changes
  • Appetite changes
  • Loss of desire/sex drive
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Feeling anxious
  • Self harming or suicidal thoughts (in more moderate - severe cases) 

What to do about depression

If you, or someone you know is suffering any of the above symptoms it is important to get the correct diagnosis and treatment for you. The first port of call will be your GP. It is very important that you understand it is your right to be heard, and, as with any physical illness you are entitled to a second opinion until you are satisfied with your care. Psychological services differ around the country and indeed the support you are offered should be tailored to your individual circumstances, however you should expect the following from your GP:

  • A feeling of being heard and understood
  • An opportunity to discuss symptoms and feelings
  • A discussion about options
  • The right to be told your treatment and goals/outlook

You may be offered medication and or talking therapy, your lifestyle may be discussed and lifestyle changes, especially exercise (which has been proven as effective as medication in many mild depression cases) may be recommended, your GP may give you useful information and/or access to local support.

There is much that can be done and our guides below go into specific topics relation to depression, we have news and features that should help educate you on the condition. We also have guides specifically useful for spotting symptoms in others and supporting someone with depression. You may like to print out or send a link to these features to educate friends and family on how to help you at this time. Further guides can be found below.

To find a specialist in your area please see our counselling directory.

Related Guides

An introduction to depression and it's causes
How to recognise depression
Common types of depression and their differences
NHS and Private Options
How to treat depression, by medication, talking therapy or self-help strategies
Common medication given for depression
Key factors in the onset of depression
Depression talking therapies explored
Strategies to help overcome depression
Depression support and information for carers, friends and family
How to find professional help for those suffering depression
Where to look for a reputable therapist
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Girls Aloud star is said to have been suffering a secret battle against depression
Dominic Stevenson's battle with depression
We look at 'The footballers’ guidebook' and see what it means for mental health in sport
Are women buckling under the pressure to 'have it all'?
We take a look at supporting a loved one with depression
A man derailed - a real testimony of overcoming depression and PTSD

Related News

A recent study has revealed that a high number of fathers are suffering from depression.
People who engage in regular physical activity are less likely to suffer depression
New research finds genetic link to depression
Michael Yardy made a successful return to competitive action after his time out for depression
The Mail led with headline 'Will Kate Middleton suffer PND?' - we ask does it exist?
Study finds taking two medications for depression does not hasten recovery
New studies could have found a new means of treating anxiety symptoms and depression.
New study reveals being physically active in childhood could protect against depression
Depression sufferers encouraged to express themselves through art and poetry
New research shows a positive side to depression but are we forgetting the facts?
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