Almost 4 million people in 2014 were diagnosed with depression in the UK.
World Health Organisation (WHO) state that by 2020 depression will be the number 2 contributor towards disease.
It's a mood disorder that has many different triggers, with many variations of symptoms. It will often need to be treated with both medication and therapy. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems and can happen to absolutely anyone.
Some people can recover without any treatment however some depressive episodes can last 3-6 months or for much longer. Depression can be a recurrent problem.
Clinical depression is describes by David Westbrook taken from 'Managing Depression' as having five or more symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, during a continuous period of at least two weeks. In addition the symptoms must cause the sufferer significant distress or impairment of functioning.
Risk Factors for Depression:
(Remember having one or more of these factors does not indicate you will get depressed, they are factors which makes it rather more likely against someone who does not relate to any factors.)
Most studies find women are about twice as likely to have major depression as men, especially if they are carrying young children without support.
People who are unemployed for a long time.
People who lose a parent before adolescence.
People whose parents have a history of depression.
People who do not have a good social support network of friends or relatives.
People who have many 'negative life events' (events like bereavement, loss of a job, marital breakdown etc.)
People who live in cities compared to people who live in the country.
People can become depressed without necessarily having any of these risk factors.
Depression may be genetic. People may be born with a greater or lesses tendency to become depressed, which could be inherited from parents/relatives. However people with identical genes can turn out differently. Depression is associated with chemical changes in the brain.
Anti-depressant drugs and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
Anti-depressant medication can be a very effective form of treatment but you have to remember;
They do not cause instant mood improvements, they have to be taken regularly over a period of time as your doctor or psychiatrist prescribes them.
They may have some side effects, it varies between different people, some side effects happen straight away and takes some time for the beneficial effects to kick in. But side effects can decrease over time.
People can be on medication for many years and come off without any problem, addiction does not happen with anti-depressants.
Different drugs have to be tried before you find the individual drug to suit you.
CBT - based on changing your outlook on life, the way you think and your behavioural factors. Part of what keeps people depressed is the way they look at the world. Recognising your stressors, looking at practical problems in a structured way using problem solving techniques and talking therapies either in a group or 1 to 1.
Different treatments, or combinations of treatments may suit different people.