What is Depression?
The word depression is used in many different ways. Everyone can feel sad when bad things happen. However, everyday sadness is not depression. People may have a short-term depressed mood, but most manage to cope and soon recover without treatment.
A clinical depression lasts for at least two weeks and affects the person's behaviour and has physical and psychological (emotional and cognitive) effects. It also interferes with their ability to work and to have satisfying personal relationships.
Depression is a common but serious illness and can be recurrent (people recover but develop another episode later).
Symptoms of Depression
The World Health Organisation states that a person who is clinically depressed will have at least two of the following symptoms for at least two weeks:
An unusually sad mood that does not go away
Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
Lack of energy and tiredness
People who are depressed can also have other symptoms such as:
Loss of confidence in themselves or poor self-esteem
Feeling guilty when they are not really at fault
Wishin they were dead/suicidal thoughts
Bleak and pessimistic views of the future
Having difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss of interest in food or eating too much, leading to either loss of weight or putting on weight
How many symptoms someone has depends on how severe their depression is. Here is a guide to the severity of depression:
Mild depression: 4 of the 10 symptoms over the past two weeks.
Moderate depression: 5-7 of the 10 symptoms over the past two weeks
Severe depression: 8 out of the 10 symptoms over the past two weeks.
Where to go for help?
We have put together a list of helpful resources and organisations that can help you or someone you know if they are suffering from depression or any mental health issue.