What is it?
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.
Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when youre depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of depression can be complex and vary widely between people. But as a general rule, if you are depressed, you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy.
The symptoms persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social life and family life.
There are many other symptoms of depression and youre unlikely to have everyone listed below.
Psychological symptoms include:
- continuous low mood or sadness
- feeling hopeless and helpless
- having low self-esteem
- feeling tearful
- feeling guilt-ridden
- feeling irritable and intolerant of others
- having no motivation or interest in things
- finding it difficult to make decisions
- not getting any enjoyment out of life
- feeling anxious or worried
- having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
Physical symptoms include:
- moving or speaking more slowly than usual
- change in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
- unexplained aches and pains
- lack of energy or lack of interest in sex (loss of libido)
- changes to your menstrual cycle
- disturbed sleep (for example, finding it hard to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning)
Social symptoms include:
- not doing well at work
- taking part in fewer social activities and avoiding contact with friends
- neglecting your hobbies and interests
- having difficulties in your home and family life
Depression can come on gradually, so it can be difficult to notice something is wrong. Many people continue to try to cope with their symptoms without realising they are ill. It can take a friend or family member to suggest something is wrong.
Doctors describe depression by how serious it is:
- mild depression has some impact on your daily life
- moderate depression has a significant impact on your daily life
- severe depression makes it almost impossible to get through daily life a few people with severe depression may have psychotic symptoms
- Unconditional love, patience and care are vital to healing.
- Be aware about the disease. The more information you will have, the more equipped you will be in dealing with the disease.
- Seek counselling and share your fears, stress and problems with your loved ones.
- Increase social interactions and indulgence in recreational activities.
- Enrol in stress-management classes or practice yoga and meditation to calm the mind.
- Be positive. Avoid negative thoughts. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
- Never criticize the patient or show lack of respect towards the patient.
- Never ignore the symptoms of patient as trivial.
- Try not to bring up the topic of Depression again and again in front of the patient. Help him/her lead a normal life.
Things to watch out for
Share your depression issues with your GP immediately if it is affecting your daily life or causing you distress. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery.