There are 3 million people living in the UK that have been diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety but what is depression? How is it diagnosed? And what can be done to help coping with the illness?
Everyone can feel periods of sadness but depression is different than that. Depression is feeling persistently sad for weeks or months instead of just a few days. People can look at depression and think of it as a sign of weakness but that is simply not the case. With the right treatment and support, depression can be overcome.
Depression can be triggered by a life changing event but it can also be genetic. People with family history of depression are more likely to experience it and you can also become depressed for no obvious reason. Outwardly it may seem that you have everything, with the world at your feet but inside would show a very different picture. Depression and anxiety can be both situational and chemical. It is important that we do not judge ourselves in terms of “what do I have to be depressed about”, this is a common thought which is incredibly unhelpful. It is often symptomatic of negative thought processes which are indicative of depression.
The symptoms of depression vary depending on the person and they can be both mental and physical. Some symptoms can be feelings of hopelessness, being tearful and losing interest in the things you used to enjoy. Physical symptoms include feeling tired, very bad sleep pattern and having decreased/increased appetite or sex drive.
Symptoms can also range from mild to severe with severe depression it may make you feel suicidal. You should seek help from your GP if you have any signs or symptoms of depression as they will be able to diagnose, possibly medicate and make sure that you receive the help you need.
Depression can be treated, done with a combination of things including counselling but it depends on what kind of depression is diagnosed. If you have mild depression a doctor could suggest ‘watchful waiting’ which is giving it some time to see if anything changes and suggesting self-help groups. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (talking therapy) can also be used for mild depression.
For moderate and severe depression both talking therapy and antidepressants are usually used to help. If the severe depression worsens you may be referred to a specialist mental health team so you can have intensive talking treatments.
People living with depression can live a long and healthy life after receiving the help they need. If you are feeling this way then go and see your GP immediately. The stigma around mental health is a big thing but if you feel like you need that help then don’t hesitate to ask for it. You can of course speak to us hear at Salford Counselling in complete confidence.