Every year in the UK, between 4 and 10 people in every hundred will suffer from depression. Depression is different to occasionally feeling down. It is feeling down and low and hopeless for weeks at a time. It interferes with daily living and normal routine and affects not only the sufferer but those close to them.

Depression can come about in many different ways. Generally, it is accepted that social circumstances, specific incidents and/or individual thought patterns would contribute to someone becoming depressed. It is also recognised that there are degrees of depression, going from mild to moderate to severe. The severity is generally defined by the length and depth of the depression. In someone who was depressed, we might expect to see some of the following:

• Tiredness and loss of energy
• Persistent sad, empty or anxious feelings
• Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
• Feeling restless and agitated
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
• Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting, including sex
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
• Sleeping problems – insomnia, waking up much earlier than usual, or sleeping too much
• Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends and family
• Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
• Overeating or Appetite Loss
• Thoughts about suicide and death
• Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

If you have had five or more of the above symptoms for more than 2 weeks, you may want to discuss this with your GP. Generally the earlier you can recognise the symptoms of depression and make positive changes to counter it, the less likely it is to worsen. In basic terms, the longer it has been going on and the more of the above issues you experience, then the more severe your depression. The less depressed you are, the less you may need to do to lift your mood. The more depressed you are, the more help you might need to do this and the longer it might take.

Please contact Erko Psychology for further information and to make an appointment.