Depression

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it's a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health.

Signs and symptoms

You may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, you've felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, or have lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and have also experienced several of the signs and symptoms across at least three of the categories below.

It’s important to remember that we all experience some of these symptoms from time to time, and it may not necessarily mean you're depressed. Equally, not everyone who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms.

Behavior Feelings Thoughts Physical
not going out anymore overwhelmed 'I’m a failure.' tired all the time
not getting things done at work/school guilty 'It’s my fault.' sick and run down
withdrawing from close family and friends irritable 'Nothing good ever happens to me.' headaches and muscle pains
relying on alcohol and sedatives frustrated 'I’m worthless.' churning gut
not doing usual enjoyable activities lacking in confidence 'Life’s not worth living.' sleep problems
unable to concentrate unhappy 'People would be better off without me.' loss or change of appetite
  indecisive   significant weight loss or gain
  disappointed    
  miserable    
  sad    

If you think that you or someone you know may be experiencing depression, completing our checklist is a quick, easy and confidential way to give you more insight. The checklist won't provide a diagnosis – for that you'll need to see a health professional – but it can help to guide you and provide a better understanding of how you're feeling.

Treatment for Depression

There may not be one proven way that people recover from depression, and it's different for everyone. The good news is, there are a range of effective treatments available. Please refer to the champions list for treatment that you can access to. There are also plenty of things you can do for yourself to recover and stay well. The important thing is finding the right treatment and the right health professional for your needs.

Psychological treatments for depression

Psychological treatments (also known as talking therapies) can help you change your thinking patterns and improve your coping skills, so you're better equipped to deal with life's stresses and conflicts. As well as supporting your recovery, psychological therapies can also help you stay well by identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviour.

There are several types of effective psychological treatments for depression, as well as different delivery options. Some people prefer to work one on one with a professional, while others get more out of a group environment. A growing number of online programs, or e-therapies, are also available. 

Medical treatments for depression

The main medical treatment for depression is antidepressant medication. There's a lot of misinformation about antidepressant medication and while there is no simple explanation as to how it works, it can be very useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety disorders.

If you're experiencing moderate to severe depression your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medication, along with psychological treatments. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed when other treatments have not been successful or when psychological treatments aren't possible due to the severity of the condition or a lack of access to the treatment.

People with more severe forms of depression (bipolar disorder and psychosis) generally need to be treated with medication. This may include one or a combination of mood stabilisers, anti-psychotic drugs and antidepressants.

Other sources of support

If left untreated, depression and anxiety can go on for months, even years. The good news is that a range of effective treatments are available, as well as things you can do yourself to recover and stay well.

Different treatments work for different people, and it’s best to speak to a doctor or mental health professional about your options and preferences. If you’ve taken the first step and talked through some treatment options with a health professional, you might like to try a few of the following ideas for lifestyle changes and social support. Most people find that a combination of things work best.

It's important to remember that recovery can take time, and just as no two people are the same, neither are their recoveries. Be patient and go easy on yourself.

Take this simple test to see if you are likely having depression and anxiety:

If you or someone you know is having symptoms of Depression, immediately seek health care. You can find MHA Champions Care Providers below:

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