Anyone can get down from time to time with the usual ups and downs of life. However, if this becomes a persistent problem every day for two weeks or more then this may be a warning of clinical depression.
Depression is not a sign of weakness. It can happen to the most determined of people. Many famous people, athletes, and celebrities have experienced depression.
Depression is the commonest mental illness affecting millions of people globally. It may be caused by genetic factors, childhood trauma, stressful life events or changes, bereavement or loss, alcohol or drug use, or physical health problems.
Symptoms of depression can be physical, psychological, and social. Hence, its effective and timely treatment really needs to address all of these symptoms.
Physical symptoms can include:
changes in eating or sleeping patterns;
lack of energy or loss of interest in sex, and
unexplained aches and pains.
Psychological symptoms can include:
constant low mood;
lack of enjoyment, and
feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Social symptoms can include:
difficulties in work and home life;
losing interest in usual activities, and
avoiding social activities with friends.
Depression can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on how many symptoms are present and how seriously it is impacting daily life.
About 6% of the population meet the clinical criteria for depression or dysthymia (low-grade depression for more than 2 years) at any one time.
Overall prevalence appears to be rising with a lifetime prevalence of 10-20%.
At least 50% will also have anxiety problems.
Depression increases death from natural causes by 1.7 times, and from suicide by 19.7 times.
Alcohol and illicit substance misuse, e.g. cocaine, heroin, can cause and worsen depression.
For people suffering from moderate or severe depression, NICE recommends a combination of antidepressant medication and a high-intensity psychological intervention for effective treatment, long-term recovery, and relapse prevention.
Many of our patients have successfully recovered from depression after having psychotherapy such as CBT or Human Givens Therapy, social therapy, and antidepressant medication in moderate to severe cases. Without regular medication for 6 months in moderate or severe depression, 50% of patients will have a further episode within 2 years.
If you think you may be suffering from depression then talk to your GP or contact us for specialist help and depression treatment.
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