Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.
Depression is different from feeling down or sad. Unhappiness is something which everyone feels at one time or another, usually due to a particular cause. A person experiencing depression will experience intense emotions of anxiety, hopelessness, negativity and helplessness, and the feelings stay with them instead of going away.
Depression can happen to anyone. Many successful and famous people who seem to have everything going for them battle with this problem. Depression also affects people of every age.
Half of the people who have depression will only experience it once but for the other half it will happen again. The length of time that it takes to recover ranges from around six months to a year or more.
Living with depression is difficult for those who suffer from it and for their family, friends, and colleagues. It can be difficult to know if you are depressed and what you can do about it.
Signs and symptoms:
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Sadness that doesn’t go away
- Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
- Difficulty concentrating
- Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
- Feeling anxious all the time
- Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Sleeping problems – difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual
- Very strong feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of sex drive and/or sexual problems
- Physical aches and pains
- Thinking about suicide and death
If you experience four or more of these symptoms for most of the day – every day – for more than two weeks, you should seek help from your GP.