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Depression

Page history last edited by Ann Vipond 3 years ago

Depression

Some people think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition.  But depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it is not a sign of weakness or something to 'snap out of' by 'pulling yourself together'.

 

At least one person in every six becomes depressed in the course of their lives.  One in 20 is clinically depressed.  Figures suggest that more women than men become depressed, but men may find it harder to admit to or talk about their experience.  All age groups can be affected, and it is important to take symptoms seriously and not to dismiss them as an inevitable part of growing up, family life or growing older.

 

Depression is a state of low mood that can have a negative effect on a person's thoughts, behaviour, feelings, world view and physical well-being.  Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt or restless.  They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions and may contemplate or attempt suicide.  Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may also be present.

 

Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder.  It can be a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions and a side effect of some medical treatments.  

 

Causes

 

Life events

 

Life events and changes that may precipitate depressed mood include childhood abuse, childbirth, menopause, financial difficulties, job problems, relationship troubles, separation and bereavement.

 

Medical treatments 

 

Certain medications are known to cause depressed mood in a significant number of patients.  

 

Non-psychiatric illnesses 

 

Depressed mood can be the result of a number of diseases and physiological disorders. It is often one of the early symptoms of hypothyroidism (reduced activity of the thyroid gland).  Chronic pain can also cause depression.

 

Psychiatric syndromes 

 

A number of psychiatric syndromes feature depressed mood as a main symptom, including clinical depression, dysthymia, bipolar disorder and seasonal affective disorder.

 

Depressed mood may feature in borderline personality disorders, adjustment disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder.

 

What can friends or relatives do to help?

 

The very nature of depression can prevent someone who is depressed from seeking help so this is the time when they need your help and support most.  Try not to blame them for being depressed, or tell them to 'pull themselves together'.  They are probably already blaming themselves and criticism is likely to make them feel even more depressed.  

 

People who are depressed need someone who cares for them. You can show that you care by listening sympathetically, by being affectionate, by appreciating the person, or simply by spending time with them.

 

Some websites which may be helpful

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depression_(mood)

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/depression

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/depression

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Depression/Pages/Introduction.aspx

http://www.depressionalliance.org/

http://www.depressionuk.org/index.shtml

 

Taken from the private wiki author unknown

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