Depression can strike anyone at any time. In fact, every 1 in 5 people will suffer from depression in some shape or form each year – and the rate is on the rise. So how do you know if you are depressed or just a little bit down?
Depression can be caused by traumatic life events, such as a bereavement, redundancy or a divorce, or it can be genetic or caused by biochemical factors such as fluctuations in serotonin levels. Everybody can feel down at times and experience one or two of the symptoms of depression. However, if your symptoms last for longer than two weeks, or you experience several of the symptoms at once, there is a possibility that you are more than a little bit down and that you could be depressed.
The classic signs of depression can include:
1. low mood
2. poor concentration
4. a loss of pleasure in life
5. insomnia or early morning wakening
6. loss of confidence and self-esteem
7. loss of libido
8. change of appetite
9. poor hygiene, if you are severely depressed
10. suicidal thoughts, also if you are severely depressed
If you experience any of the above symptoms, the first thing to do is to try and talk to someone close to you – simply talking through your feelings with someone you trust can be enough to lift your mood. If the low feelings continue, you should also talk to your GP who may prescribe suitable antidepressants and/or counselling.
If your depression is severe or persistent, it can be beneficial to visit a psychiatrist or other mental health specialist who will be able to tackle the root of your depression and offer treatments such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or other medications. The key however is to allow enough time for any medication and treatment to take effect which will vary depending on the cause and severity of the depression. Your mental health professional will be able to advise you.
For further information on depression – what it is, the symptoms and how it can be treated – we have produced a series of videos featuring consultant psychiatrist, Dr Adrian Winbow, which can be viewed on our website.
Appointments with Dr Winbow and with any of the consultant psychiatrists at Private Psychiatry can be made by contacting us.