Alarming statics reveal one on four people in the UK experience some kind of mental health problem each year. A further 17 out of 100 people feel so low that they suffer with suicidal thoughts.
Many people misunderstand conditions like depression and think it’s something that happens to other people.
But according to the World Health Organisation, “if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally”.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that depression is sadness, but the two are entirely different things.
IMPROVE YOUR DIET – Eating four to six small meals throughout the day rather than two to three large ones can help stabilise blood sugar, giving you more energy to deal with the day and avoiding sugar crashes and cravings that will sap what energy you do
Today is “Time to Talk Day”, 24 hours dedicated to getting the nation taking about mental health.
But despite depression being a worryingly common problem, many people don’t talk about it or even know how to identify the signs in themselves or others.
While depression is complicated and everyone’s experiences will be different, there are some key warning signs you can look out for.
Here are some of the most common symptoms:
When sadness lasts for more than two weeks and doesn’t waver significantly, this can be warning sign of depression.
This is especially true when there is no overt reason for this sadness. If you’ve just lost a loved one, longer-term sadness is likely part of the grief process.
If you are sad for no reason, you should be concerned and seek help. You might feel down, upset or tearful for no apparent reason.
2. Feeling restless, agitated or irritable
Depressed individuals often have a short temper and lash out verbally at others, even over small issues.
You might notice feeling uncharacteristically irritable and intolerant of others.
MOODY: You might feel irritable and agitated and lash out for no apparent reason
3. Having no motivation or interest in things
If you used to love socialising or playing sport but you suddenly have no interest or motivation to do anything, this can be a symptom of depress.
If you do try to partake in these activities you might find you can’t gain any pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy.
4. Feeling isolated and cut off from others
Avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities is a common sign of depression. You might also find it harder to relate to others.
5. Experiencing disturbed sleep
You might find it difficult to fall asleep at night or start waking up very early in the morning.
6. Changes in eating patterns
Like sleep issues, either overeating or going off food, in conjunction with other symptoms that define depression, can indicate mental illness.
7. Hopeless and despairing
The most important thing is to know yourself – your mind and body.
If you feel like something is wrong go and see your GP. There are several severities of depression and your doctor should be able to prescribe you with the appropriate tools to aid your recovery.
The severities are depression include:
1. Mild depression – has some impact on your daily life
2. Moderate depression – has a significant impact on your daily life
3. Severe depression – makes it almost impossible to get through daily life; a few people with severe depression may have psychotic symptoms
SELF-HELP: Taking up regular exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of depression
There are also some conditions where depression may be one of the symptoms, these include:
Some women develop depression after they have a baby and it is treated in a similar way to other types of depression, with talking therapies and antidepressant medicines
Also known as “manic depression” is a condition which manifests in spells of depression and excessively high mood (mania)
3. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Also known as “winter depression”, SAD is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern usually related to winter
These self-help tips include exercising, connecting with people (even if you don’t feel like it) and improving your diet.
How is depression treated?
If you have mild depression your GP might recommend taking up regular exercise or jointing a self-help group to talk about your experiences with others.
If your symptoms are milt to moderate talking therapy is the most common treatment.
However, if you have severe depression, the treatments outlined below may be recommended.
SUPPORT: Talking through your struggles with a therapist can be extremely beneficial
Your GP may recommend that you take a course of therapy, particularly if your depression is quite severe.
They will usually prescribe antidepressants alongside the therapy as this is deemed to work better than having just one of the treatments.
Antidepressants are tablets that treat the symptoms of depression. There are almost 30 different types of antidepressant. They have to be prescribed by a doctor, usually for depression that’s moderate or severe.
If you have severe depression, you may be referred to a mental health team made up of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists.
These teams often provide intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medication.