Am I Depressed?
Depression is different from the normal feelings of sadness that we all experience sometimes, but it can be difficult to know if the feelings you have are normal or a sign of something more serious.
Difference between sadness and depression:
- Sadness comes and goes during the day, sometimes lasting an hour or so
- Depression is present for a considerable part of the day, very often in the morning
- Sadness can pass after a few days
- Depression is characterised by low moods that last for at least two weeks, often much longer
- Sadness impacts on certain parts of your life, for instance feeling sad at home, but happier with friends or at work
- Depression tends to impact on someone’s whole life
You can read more about the Symptoms of Depression.
We would always recommend seeking medical help if you are worried about things.
What is depression?
Depression is a common illness that affects one in five of us.
It can be caused by the events that are happening in someone’s life or by neurochemical disorders.
There are many types of depression; the most common is depression accompanied with feelings of anxiety - 9% of people meet the criteria for diagnosing depression with anxiety 1.
Depression can be a debilitating illness for both the sufferer and their family; the feelings of depression are often overwhelming and uncontrollable - sufferers cannot ‘pull themselves together’, ‘snap out of it’ or ‘look on the bright side’.
Episodes of depression can last from a few weeks to several months. Bouts of depression can come back throughout someone’s life and can increase in severity if left untreated. Seeking help is the first step to getting better. We know that seeking help can feel like a huge challenge, particularly when everything feels so hopeless. We have qualified, friendly clinical advisors who will take the time to listen to you and advise you on the next steps.
Please call 0203 326 9160 to speak to someone about depression.
Who does depression affect?
Depression affects all ages, races and both men and women. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than men, but tragically men are more likely to commit suicide than women.
We are not 100% sure why more women than men are diagnosed with depression but one reason could be that women seek help more readily and perhaps feel less shame in doing so.
It could also be that hormonal fluctuations and the pressures women can find themselves under, caused by balancing work, family life and relationships could make women more likely to suffer with depression.
A third reason for the increased propensity of depression in women could be differing sensitivities to brain chemicals. A study in 2007 found that women are more sensitive to levels of serotonin in their brain than men. Serotonin is the ‘happy’ chemical, produced by the brain, that is often found in low levels in depressed people. Research found that decreased serotonin levels in women resulted in low moods and more cautious behaviour whereas in men it resulted in increased impulsiveness 2.
Help with depression
Getting help for depression can and does work – an assessment with a psychiatrist can rule out if there are any other conditions that might be causing the depressive symptoms and determine the correct treatment plan for the individual.
Depression can be successfully treated – the first step is getting an assessment.
To speak to someone today about how we can help you please call 0203 326 9160
1 ONS psychiatric morbidity 2001
2 Walderhaug, E. Magnusson, A. et al (2007) Interactive Effects of Sex and 5-HTTLPR on mood and impulsivity during tryptoptia depletion in health people in Biological Psychiatry 593:599 June 2007 62:6