Depression: Definition, Symptoms and Treatment

Most people will say they are depressed from time to time when they feel sad, but if your feelings of sadness persist and if you cannot find pleasure in people or activities anymore, then perhaps you are suffering from clinical depression. At Banbury Lodge, we know that this is a very real illness and one that can leave you feeling as though life is not worth living. In light of this, we want you to know that we can help you to overcome this illness so that you can start to enjoy your life once more.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a genuine illness with very real symptoms and one that can leave you feeling very low and unable to enjoy your life. This mental health disorder can cause ongoing loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable as well as a lack of energy and intense feelings of sadness.

You might have been told by others to ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘snap out of it’. You may have even been asked why you are depressed because, after all, you have nothing to be depressed about. There is a common misunderstanding of what this condition is and most people cannot comprehend that those affected have no control over their feelings or emotions.

Feeling sad every now and then is not the same as having depression. Most people will have periods where they are unhappy or feeling down, but these feelings tend to pass and are balanced with periods where the person is content and happy. You will experience ongoing feelings of sadness coupled with anxiety and feelings of low self-worth, often for no apparent reason.

You should know that depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, and background. But while many only experience it once, there are others who experience the symptoms regularly, with some people taking up to a year or more to recover from each episode.

Do I Have Depression?

Depression can have a wide range of symptoms with most individuals experiencing intense feelings of sadness and unhappiness. If these feelings are beginning to affect your day-to-day life, it is important that you talk to someone as soon as possible because the good news is that depression is a condition that can be effectively treated.

As well as psychological symptoms, there are a number of physical symptoms that are associated with depression. Below is a list of symptoms that are caused by this condition. You may have some of these but not all, and you may have symptoms that are not on the list:

Psychological Symptoms

  • Low self-esteem
  • Intense feelings of sadness that do not go away
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Being unable to find pleasure in people or activities
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt and shame
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling that life is not worth living.

Physical Symptoms

  • Aches and pains
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite.

Some people can suffer with mild depression where they are struggling to be happy and are suffering with feelings of low self-worth. In its mildest form, the illness will not interfere with everyday life, but it can make it seem as though life is a real struggle.

Nevertheless, those who suffer from severe depression may develop suicidal tendencies and even experience psychotic symptoms. This condition can lead to hallucinations or paranoid delusions. While these symptoms are not harmful in and of themselves, they can be very frightening and can lead you to harm yourself or others. If you are hearing voices that are not there or are suffering from paranoia, it is important to get help as soon as possible.

Why Am I Depressed?

Some individuals get depression for no apparent reason but other times there will be a trigger that causes it to develop. Nonetheless, there is no way to know for sure why one person will suffer from depression and another person will not.

Life-changing events can lead to stress, which in some people can result in depressive episodes; it could be the loss of a loved one, having a baby, or witnessing a horrific accident. What scientists do know though is that there are certain risk factors that make it more likely for some people to suffer from depression than others.

For example, if you have a family history of the illness or another mental health problem, you are more likely to suffer yourself. Having said that, you can develop depression without having any risk factors at all.

People who experience trauma have a higher chance of developing depression. Studies have found that those who are diagnosed with a life-changing illness such as cancer or heart disease can go on to suffer from depression, as can those who suffer from chronic pain. The condition is also linked to family problems, childhood experiences, unemployment, and being bullied.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause but with a programme of treatment, you can learn to identify the triggers to your feelings of sadness and happiness and you can learn how to deal with these triggers effectively.

What Type of Depression Do I Have?

Depression can be classed according to its severity – it can be mild, moderate, or severe. However, there are also several distinct types of depression attributed to specific events or circumstances. Below are a few examples:

  • Postnatal Depression – Postnatal depression is associated with women who have recently given birth. This type tends to occur in the days, weeks, and months following giving birth.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – SAD is a condition that usually affects people during the winter months when the days are shorter and the weather is colder.
  • Prenatal Depression – Many pregnant women can suffer from depression during their pregnancy.
  • Chronic Depression – Chronic depression usually lasts for longer than two years and is also known as dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder.

How Will Depression Affect Me?

You may already be feeling the negative effects of the condition, so it is important to get help as soon as possible. At Banbury Lodge, we have a team of expert therapists with experience in treating depression who can help you to turn your life around.

Depression can be a very serious problem if untreated. It is common for sufferes to begin self-medicating with mood-altering substances such as alcohol or drugs, which can lead to a dual diagnosis whereby you would be struggling not only with depression but also with a substance abuse problem.

You might be suffering from fatigue and a loss of libido due to your feelings of depression and you may also be feeling as though life has no meaning. If you are feeling this way, we urge you to get help as soon as possible. Failure to treat your condition could lead to your symptoms worsening and you may suffer physical health problems if you are struggling to sleep or if you have lost your appetite.

You may also notice a deterioration in relationships with family members and friends. As you continue to struggle with depression, your ability to maintain healthy relationships will suffer, which may cause conflict with those you love.

Nevertheless, you do not have to continue living with depression. Treatment is readily available, and we can help you to overcome your illness for good.

How Can Banbury Lodge Help Me?

When it comes to treating depression, there are several techniques that can be used. When you come for treatment to Banbury Lodge, you will be given a programme of care that takes your individual needs and circumstances into account.

Your treatment plan is likely to include a variety of approaches including talking therapies, holistic treatments, and medication, if appropriate. We will also help you to implement a number of lifestyle changes that will help to prevent a return of your symptoms going forward.

Talking therapies such as CBT will help you to identify triggers to your depression. You will then be taught how to deal with these triggers in a positive manner to help you avoid a return to depressive behaviour in the future.

It may be the case that you will need to make changes to your lifestyle such as eating a cleaner diet, cutting down on alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and getting more exercise. All these changes can help to improve your overall well-being and reduce stress.

If appropriate, antidepressants to regulate your mood and help to deal with the symptoms of depression may be prescribed.

If you would like more information about depression and how Banbury Lodge can help you to get better, please contact us today.

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