One in 10 people in the UK will experience depression at some point in their lifetime and not getting treatment can be life threatening. Now there’s a sober fact to kick things off, but major depression really can be a killer. So, how do you know the difference between feelings of sadness and symptoms of depression?
We all have times when we’re down, sad and deflated and we often say we’re just ‘feeling a little depressed’. But how long have you felt that way? And do you feel it often? Intense and long lasting sadness may be a sign of clinical depression or major depression, but all too often we brush it off as a ‘bad mood’.
The fact is: the true number of depression victims is hard to estimate – simply because too many people do not get help, or are not formally diagnosed.
Are you sad or depressed – What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression can have many sources and is a perfectly normal reaction to loss, damaged self-esteem or the struggles of everyday life. At such a time; feelings of intense sadness, hopelessness, and low self-worth are normal, but if they last for more than a couple of weeks and are stopping you from functioning normally, then your depression may be caused by more than just sadness.
There are many tell-tale signs associated with depression, but your symptoms can be very different to those experienced by another person. The length of time a person is affected, it’s severity and frequency can also vary, it all depends on the individual and what they’re going through.
Common Symptoms of Depression:
- Recurring insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Abnormal weight loss or gain
- Guilt or worthlessness feelings
- Poor concentration
- Daily Fatigue or low energy
- Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Depression can also display itself through physical symptoms such as joint pain, chest pain (get that checked immediately), back pain, appetite changes and digestive issues. Physical symptoms of depression can be easier to ignore than emotional ones and are often attributed to other causes. As a result many depressed people never get help and sometimes; even doctors can miss the signs.
How is depression diagnosed?
It is estimated that by 2020, major depression will be the second most diagnosed illness in the world, behind heart disease. For a doctor to accurately diagnose depression they must combine a physical examination with a patient conversation, by talking with the patient, a doctor can uncover patterns in lifestyle habits, daily moods and general behaviours.
When diagnosing depression, the past is almost as important as the present and the doctor should also discuss any family history of depression as well as specific incidents that may have occurred in your life. This, combined with details on how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms should help to provide an effective diagnosis.
Treatment for depression- Psychotherapy
Along with medication, Psychotherapy is one of the most widely accepted methods of treating clinical depression, it’s role is to help the person develop coping strategies. Therapy also aims to help the individual react differently to stressful situations. There are many versions of psychotherapy for depression including:
Interpersonal therapy – focusing on your relationships with other people
Family counselling/Group counselling – helping you to voice your feelings
The benefits of psychotherapy can be life-changing, it can help reduce stress, give you a new perspective, help you maintain medication and simply open up about your condition. The length of therapy required will vary from person to person and while some may only need a handful of sessions, those more resistant to therapy may benefit from longer-term, maintenance therapy.
Don’t suffer in silence
Far too many people fail to recognise the symptoms of clinical or major depression, resulting in a lack of diagnosis or treatment. Without suitable treatment; depression can cause intense suffering and may even lead to suicide. Don’t ignore the pain or suffer in silence – if you’re experiencing any of the emotional or physical symptoms of depression, then speak to your doctor. Depression is more common than you may think and you can remove it from your life. Simply phone the Affinity Centre on 01625 529099 for a chat about how we can help you.
Read the book: The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness (includes Guided Meditation Practices CD)* is a life changing book about dealing with depression. The authors discuss ways in which depression can be tackled using mindfulness techniques proven to be successful in clinical studies.