Joshua Cole.

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You are here: Home Depression


Depression is a serious illness. Health professionals use the terms ‘depression’, ‘depressive illness’ and ‘clinical depression’ to refer to something very different to the common experience of feeling miserable or fed up for a short period of time.

Depression involves extreme feelings of sadness that can last for a long time; it affects the way a sufferer thinks and feels. These feelings are severe enough to interfere with daily life, and affect social behaviour. They can last for weeks or months, rather than coming and going over the course of a few days.

Depression is a common illness - around 15% of people will suffer a bout of major depression at some point in their lives, and it is the fourth most common cause of disability worldwide. It is difficult to offer precise statistics, as many people live with depression without seeking help or being formally diagnosed.

Give suitable treatment, depression can be treated very successfully - about 80% of sufferers show a marked improvement in mood during treatment. Unfortunately, many people – estimates suggest around two-thirds of sufferers - do not get the right help or treatment because:

·         Depressed people are seen as weak or lazy.

·         Individual symptoms are treated, and not the underlying cause.

·         Many symptoms are misdiagnosed as physical problems.

·         Social stigma causes people to avoid seeking treatment.

·         The symptoms are not recognized as depression.

·         The symptoms are so disabling, that the person affected cannot reach out for help.

Doctors describe depression in the following 3 ways:

1. By difference in severity. Depression can be:
a) Mild - there is some impact on the sufferer’s daily life.
b) Moderate - there is significant impact on the sufferer’s daily life.

2. By presence or absence of physical symptoms. Most patients with depression have one or two physical (‘biological’ or ‘somatic’) symptoms; however, some have several.

3. By presence or absence of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Most people with depression do not have psychotic symptoms, but some do. See also, the sections on specific types of depression, e.g. manic-depression illness, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Depression often exists alongside other mental or physical illnesses. Substance abuse, anxiety, personality disorders, cancer, heart problems and eating disorders are all common illnesses with which depression can co-exist. Research has shown that treating co-existing depression improves the prognosis of the other illness; therefore, it is important that possible signs of depression are not overlooked or dismissed when a patient is being treated for other illnesses or disorders.






You are here: Home Depression