Who is affected
Depression is quite common and affects about one in 10 of us at some point. It affects men and women, young and old. Depression can also strike children. Studies have shown that about 4% of children aged five to 16 in the UK are anxious or depressed.
When you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it's not a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together". The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery.
How to tell if you have depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms. They range from lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and complaining of various aches and pains. The severity of the symptoms can vary. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while at its most severe depression can make you feel suicidal and that life is no longer worth living.
Symptoms of clinical depression
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 you're unlikely to have every one listed below.
If you experience some of these symptoms for most of the day, every day for more than two weeks, you should seek help from your GP.
Psychological symptoms include:
Physical symptoms include:
Social symptoms include:
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:
Treatment For Depression
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a blend of two therapies: cognitive therapy (CT) and behavioral therapy. CT was developed by psychotherapist Aaron Beck, M.D., in the 1960's. CT focuses on a person's thoughts and beliefs, and how they influence a person's mood and actions, and aims to change a person's thinking to be more adaptive and healthy. Behavioral therapy focuses on a person's actions and aims to change unhealthy behavior patterns.
CBT helps a person focus on his or her current problems and how to solve them. Both patient and therapist need to be actively involved in this process. The therapist helps the patient learn how to identify distorted or unhelpful thinking patterns, recognize and change inaccurate beliefs, relate to others in more positive ways, and change behaviors accordingly. CBT can be applied and adapted to treat many specific mental disorders.
CBT For Depression
Many studies have shown that CBT is a particularly effective treatment for depression, especially minor or moderate depression. Some people with depression may be successfully treated with CBT only. Others may need both CBT and medication. CBT helps people with depression restructure negative thought patterns. Doing so helps people interpret their environment and interactions with others in a positive and realistic way. It may also help a person recognize things that may be contributing to the depression and help him or her change behaviors that may be making the depression worse.
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Depression , Bi-Polar Disorder (Manic Depression), Low Self-Esteem, Health Anxiety, General Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobias, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Eating Disorders, Stress-related difficulties, Trauma (PTSD), Chronic Pain, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Couples and Relationships, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Childhood and Sexual Abuse.