What is Depression?
When someone is depressed, they may experience changes in behaviour such as:
Headaches, being ratty, stomach aches, high use of alcohol or drugs, losing interest in activities, a lot of crying, getting into hassles at school, work or home; changes in eating and sleeping patterns, feeling helpless or hopeless.
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings usually pass within a couple of days. We often use the expression “I’m feeling depressed” when we’re feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually, these feelings pass with time. But if these feelings are interfering with your life and don’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back, over and over again, it could be a sign that you are depressed in the medical sense of the term.
Symptoms of Depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious or ‘empty’ feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness, Irritability or restlessness.
- Loss of interest in activities once pleasurable
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Insomnia, early morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches
Bipolar disorder is the name used to describe a set of ‘mood swing’ conditions, the most severe form of which used to be called ‘manic depression’. With bipolar disorder, moods can swing between low, high and mixed. It is important to note that everyone has mood swings from time to time. It is only when these moods become extreme and interfere with life that bipolar disorder may be present and medical assessment may be needed.
Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression can get better with treatment.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know might be showing signs of depression it is important to get support.