Are You Depressed?

Posted on: 11th June 2018

How to Recognise Depression

Most people have periods of feeling “low,” “down,” lethargic and disinterested in activities – even pleasurable ones. In today’s fast paced society mild depressive symptoms may be a normal response to many of life’s stresses, especially important losses, such as a bereavement, job loss, retirement, redundancy, relationship difficulties or ill health. Many people have been affected by depression. Winston Churchill called it “the Black Dog”  AdeleJK Rowling and even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson have spoken openly about their struggles. Depression is not a sign of weakness. Depressive disorders are fairly common with 13% of people having a depressive episode in their lives (1) It varies across countries, with Japan, China and Romania having lifetime prevalences of 6% or less, raising to nearly 20% lifetime prevalences in Brazil, New Zealand and the US (2) So when does feeling “low” develop into a disorder? Signs of a depressive disorder developing are when symptoms become so severe they interfere with normal everyday life and normal functioning and they continue for weeks. The unrelenting pain and despair of depression are distinct from everyday blues. Although depression is termed a mood disorder it is truly a disorder of whole person, often affecting bodily functions, behaviours, thoughts and emotions. A person may not have all the symptoms of depression to be diagnosed.  However the more symptoms that are present and the more intense, the more certain we can be that the person is suffering from depression.

What to do? 

So what should you do? As a first stage you should see your GP for assessment. He/she may advise a period of watchful waiting of a couple of weeks, however the GP may recommend therapy or a combination of therapy and drugs. For severe depression you may be referred to a mental health team consisting of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists. In terms of self-help, trying to eat regularly and take some moderate exercise may be beneficial. Evidence suggests that taking exercise may improve mild depression. There are also useful apps to help depression such as Wellmind (Developed by the NHS) or Headspace which can help with mindfulness and relaxation. To check out apps please look at the ORCHA Website https://www.orcha.co.uk/about/ ORCHA provide comprehensive and dynamic monitoring of the fast paced and ever changing health and care app market. If you are suffering from depression please do not suffer alone. If you feel that online therapy may help you, then please get in touch with Phoenix Counselling on 07891-593571 or email sheelaghward@protonmail.com (1) Lifetime Prevalence of Mental Disorders in US Adolescents: Results from the National Comorbidity Study-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A)Dr. Kathleen Ries Merikangas et al (2011) J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2010 Oct; 49(10): 980–989. Published online 2010 Jul 31. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.017 (2) 12- month Co-morbidity patterns and associated factors in Europe.(2004) Alonso,J; et al; Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 109,28-37n