Depression is more than just a few days of unhappiness or frustration.

While everyone has periods of sadness, many who suffer from depression experience prolonged periods of sadness that last weeks or months rather than just a few days.

In Britain, depression is among the most prevalent mental health issues. It's not a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together"; rather, it's a serious illness with actual symptoms.

Depression can affect a person's entire life without the right care, and in its worst cases, it can even be fatal.

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Questions and Answers image

What is depression?


While depressed men and women will have many of the same symptoms and worries, they will also have unique issues of their own.

Men are less likely to ask for assistance and obtain the right care and support, even though women are diagnosed with depression more than twice as frequently as men.

Research indicates that 4 out of 10 women and 1 out of 10 men will experience depression at some point in their lives. Although the precise reasons for depression in women are unknown, it is thought that the persistent social and economic imbalance that affects women predisposes them to the condition.

Depression significantly impacts all facets of life, including relationships, employment, and self-worth. Others still believe that depression is an admission of weakness or failure rather than a legitimate illness. This is just untrue. Depression is not a sign of failure. It's a real illness with serious implications.

Depression can be a specific issue for some people, such as members of the LGBTQIA+ and 2SLGBTQ+ communities.

Depression is a dangerous illness that can significantly impact a person's day-to-day functioning. As a result, friends and family may be necessary for men and women experiencing depression. Workplace issues may arise as a result of depression's effects on attendance and performance.

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Questions and Answers image

Who experiences depression?

Depression can affect anyone, and it is a rather common condition. Given the complexity of depression's causes, the reasons for this are unknown. It has also been proposed that men may not seek medical attention for depression or that their symptoms are different, leading to an underdiagnosis. When depression goes untreated, they are more likely to commit suicide. Men account for about 75% of suicide deaths, with men between the ages of 20 and 50 being the most commonly affected.

When they are ill, even with depression, men are much less likely than women to access primary healthcare services.

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What causes depression?

Although there isn't a single reason, the following elements may make depression more likely to occur:

  • Stressful events in life that have resulted in a persistent state of upset and unbalance.

  • Illness, especially chronic/prolonged conditions.

  • Family history of depression.

  • Loneliness.

  • Social isolation.

  • Alcohol and some drugs.

  • Childhood trauma.

  • Hormonal imbalance typical during the menstrual cycle, during and after pregnancy, and menopause.

  • Illness.

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Questions and Answers image
What are the symptoms?

Doctors describe depression by how serious it is:

  • Mild depression - has some impact on daily life.

  • Moderate depression - has a significant impact on daily life.

  • Severe depression – makes it almost impossible to get through daily life.

The signs of depression can be complicated and differ greatly from person to person. Physical, psychological, and social symptoms are all possible. The symptoms can interfere with job, social life, and family life.

Physical symptoms may include:

  • Lack of energy/constantly feeling tired.

  • Change in appetite or weight.

  • Unexplained aches and pains.

  • Disturbed sleep.

  • Loss of interest in sex.

Psychological symptoms may include:

  • Continuous low mood/lack of motivation.

  • Feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem.

  • Feeling irritable and intolerant of others.

  • Finding it difficult to make decisions.

  • Feeling anxious or worried.

  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm.

Social symptoms may include:

  • Problems at work.

  • Avoiding friends and social activities.

  • Neglecting hobbies and interests.

  • Having difficulties in home and family life.

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Questions and Answers image
Do men have different symptoms?

Some symptoms are more common in men than in women:

  • Irritability/sudden anger/aggression.

  • Increased loss of control.

  • Greater risk-taking.

Male depression is also frequently misdiagnosed for a variety of causes, such as:

  • Failure to recognise the symptoms.

  • Downplaying the signs and symptoms.

  • Reluctance to discuss feelings or seek help.

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Questions and Answers image

What treatments exist for depression?

Most people who receive the correct treatment and support can fully recover from depression within four to six months.

  • It is important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed.

The kind of depression you have will determine what kind of treatment you are offered. The most popular forms of treatment involve a mix of:

  • Counselling.

  • Talking therapies (GPs will use this term to mean Counselling).

  • Antidepressants.

  • Self help.

Antidepressants can aid in easing the symptoms of depression and associated anxiety. Talk to your GP about any worries you may have about taking them.

Even the most everyday or routine tasks, like getting out of bed in the morning or reading the mail, might be difficult when you're depressed. Nevertheless, when discussed with your GP, and following their advice, the following activities occasionally work.

  • Exercise and keeping active. There is evidence that physical activity, even if it is just a short walk, can help overcome depression.

  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs.

  • Avoiding stress (including work-related stress).

  • Continuing to engage in enjoyable activities. Depression takes away someone's enjoyment of things they used to get pleasure from. However, giving up on enjoyable activities may worsen depression. Make an effort to schedule one enjoyable activity for each day; research suggests that this can help people overcome depression.

None of these are miracle cures - overcoming depression takes time with the support of your GP, Counsellor, friends, and family can support you along the way.

Both men and women frequently provide care for those who are depressed. It may be challenging for those who find themselves in this circumstance to take care of their own physical and mental well-being. You should always consult your GP to make sure you remain healthy.

Garry Ebrey Dip Couns