Sunday, April 2, 2017
It's World Health Day on Friday 7th April and this year the focus is on depression. The World Health Organisation, who run the campaign for World Health Day, have released new figures which suggest that the number of people living with depression increased by over 18% between 2005 and 2015.
Here we take a look at how you can recognise the signs and symptoms of depression, and where you, a family member, or a friend can go to get help.
A lot of people experience feelings of being down, unhappy and a bit fed up throughout life, however depression is more than that. Depression is when you feel persistently sad for long periods of time, such as weeks or months, rather than just the odd day.
Also, there isn't just one type of depression - depression can be developed as a result of another factor, such as postnatal depression after the birth of a child, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Like any health condition, people can be affected in different ways - what affects one person, might not affect another. The symptoms of depression can vary and be a mixture of both physical and psychological.
Psychological symptoms of depression include:
- a continuous low mood of feeling of sadness
- feeling hopeless
- feeling tearful
- lack of motivation
- difficulty in making decisions
- feeling irritable and easy annoyed by others
- feelings of constant worry and anxiety
- in some cases a person may experience suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming themselves
These pyschological symptoms can also begin to affect a person's social life and activities, and consequently cause them to avoid contact with friends or family; struggle at work due to lack of concentration; and neglect the things they find enjoyable such as hobbies and interests.
While there is a lot of focus on the psychological feelings of depression, there are also physical symptoms to look out for, and these include:
- changes in weight, caused by either undereating or overeating
- unexplained aches and pains
- feeling of no energy
- low sex drive
- different sleeping patterns, so sleeping too much or not being able to sleep at all
- women may experience changes to their menstrual cycle
If you find that you are experiencing some of the symptoms outlined above on a persistent basis, be sure to contact your GP for help and advice as soon as possible. They can talk you through how you are feeling on a confidential basis and offer their advice on how you can move forward, and suggest any treatments that might be beneficial to you.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm it is especially important that they contact their GP as soon as possible.