What is Depression?
Everyone has spells of feeling down, but depression is more than just spending a few days feeling sad or unhappy. Depression can make you feel persistently sad and down for weeks or months at a time.
While some people believe that depression is trivial or not a genuine health problem, it's actually a real condition that affects around one in 10 people over the course of their lives. It impacts people of all genders and ages – including children. Studies show that around 4% of children in the UK between the ages of five and 16 are depressed or anxious.
With the right support and treatment, most people recover fully from depression.
What causes depression?
Depression doesn't have one single cause – it can have a range of triggers, and there are many different reasons a person can develop the condition. Some people are affected after a stressful life event, like a bereavement or divorce. Other people experience depression related to illness, job loss, or money worries.
Different reasons can combine and trigger depression. If you're feeling low after a job loss or health issues, and then experience something traumatic, like a bereavement, you can develop depression.
It's common to hear about depression being brought on by a "downward spiral" – one thing causing other problems that combine to cause depression. For example, losing your job could make you feel sad, so you spend less time with family and friends and maybe drink more alcohol. These things all make you feel worse, which triggers depression.
There are studies that suggest people are more likely to become depressed when they get older. There's also evidence that depression is more common for people whose economic and social circumstances are difficult.
How can I treat depression?
Depression is a multi-faceted condition that can be treated using many different measures, from cognitive behavioural therapy to pharmaceutical intervention. For more information on how depression is treated in the united kingdom, please visit the NHS website for a thorough explanation of the pathway in which a diagnosing physician will run through with you.