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D
epression is more than simply feeling
unhappy or fed up for a few days.
Most people go through periods of feeling
down, but when you're depressed you feel persis-
tently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a
few days.
Some people think depression is trivial and
not a genuine health condition. They're wrong it
is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn't
a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out
of" by "pulling yourself together".
The good news is that with the right treat-
ment and support, most people with depression
can make a full recovery.
H
ow
to
tell
if
you
Have
depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can
cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhap-
piness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the
things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful.
Many people with depression also have symptoms
of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such
as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, hav-
ing no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and
pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to se-
vere. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently
low in spirit, while severe depression can make you
feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress,
unhappiness or anxiety during difficult times. A low
mood may improve after a short period of time,
rather than being a sign of depression.
w
Hen
to
see
a
doctor
It's important to seek help from your GP if you think
you may be depressed.
Many people wait a long time before seek-
ing help for depression, but it's best not to delay.
The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be
on the way to recovery.
w
Hat
causes
depression
?
Sometimes there's a trigger for depression.
Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing
your job or even having a baby, can bring it on.
People with a family history of depression
are more likely to experience it themselves. But you
can also become depressed for no obvious reason.
Depression is fairly common, affecting
about one in 10 people at some point during their
life. It affects men and women, young and old.
Studies have shown that about 4% of children
aged five to 16 in the UK are anxious or depressed.
t
reating
depression
Treatment for depression can involve a combi-
nation of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and
medication. Your recommended treatment will be
based on whether you have mild, moderate or se-
vere depression.
If you have mild depression, your doctor
may suggest waiting to see whether it improves
on its own, while monitoring your progress. This
is known as "watchful waiting". They may also sug-
gest lifestyle measures such as exercise and self-
help groups.
Depression is more than
simply feeling unhappy or
fed up for a few days.