Depression is a mental health condition that affects many different aspects of your life, including your mood, appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels. It also interferes with your relationships and ability to function at work or school.
It can have long-term effects on your brain, increasing the chances of having another episode in the future. If you have depression, you should seek help from a professional as soon as possible.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but they include feelings of sadness or hopelessness most of the time. You may also have symptoms such as irritability or anger, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of suicide.
People of all ages can experience depression. Children and teenagers can be especially affected. They might get into trouble at school, sulk, feel restless or have low self-esteem. They may also be very sensitive to criticism or worry that their parents might die.
Genetics and family history: Some people are more likely to get depression than others because of their genes. It can also be caused by stressful events such as relationship problems, moving house or the death of a loved one.
Medical conditions: Chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) can increase your risk of developing depression. It can also be more common in women than men.
Use of substances: Some people are more at risk of depression if they are drug or alcohol-addicted.
Social circumstances: If you live in difficult social or economic circumstances, such as a large debt or lack of work, you are more likely to develop depression than others. This is because the pressure and anxiety of these circumstances can trigger depression, even if you are not depressed when they start.
Getting older: The longer you have had depression, the harder it is to get better. This is because it takes time to recover from a depression and the longer it lasts, the more likely you are to have another episode in the future.
The most effective treatments for depression are drugs and psychotherapy, which change your thinking patterns and can help you to feel better. They can also help you cope better with the things that cause your depression.
Treatments for depression are not a one-size-fits-all and they can take some trial and error to find the best solution for you. Your doctor should be able to offer advice about how to get started on your treatment, and will give you an idea of the type of medication or therapy that is most suitable for you.
You should see your doctor if you are feeling depressed for most of the day, every day and for more than 2 weeks. If your symptoms are severe, you should go to hospital and have an electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) session.
It’s important to remember that depression can be very hard on your family, and it is not just you who needs support. If you are worried about how your depression is affecting your family, you should talk to your doctor and consider getting family therapy.