What is depression?
It is important to distinguish between normal ups and downs in mood, which most people experience, and depression, where people feel persistently sad for a few weeks or months.
What are the symptoms?
Depression affects people in many different ways. Symptoms include:
- low mood
- feelings of hopelessness
- loss of enjoyment
Physical symptoms include:
- reduced energy levels and concentration
- changes in sleep and eating patterns
- loss of libido
What types of treatment are recommended?
Treatment for depression usually involves self-help, talking therapies and medication.
Self-help can be a very useful first step in tackling depression. You can join a self-help group or access self-help books or online information and support. IAPT services often provide support and guidance in using self-help materials.
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends different talking therapies for depression.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps you to identify how thoughts and behaviour impact on your mood. The aim is to develop more balanced thinking patterns and change unhelpful behaviour patterns that may cause or prolong symptoms of depression.
Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) focuses on your relationships with other people and may address issues such as communication or bereavement.
Counselling provides a supportive relationship through which to find new ways of coping with difficulties or problems in your life.
If you would like to receive help for depression, you can ask your GP for information about local mental health services or you can refer yourself directly to a service.