What is depression?
As many as one in five of us experiences depression at some point during our lifetime. At any one time, 10 per cent of us are depressed, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Not everyone seeks treatment for depression, and some people don’t ever share it with friends and family, let alone a healthcare professional. This is why precise figures on the incidence of depression are hard to come by, but we do know that it is more likely to happen as a result of certain life events, or at certain ages, or times. Teenagers are about twice as likely as younger children to become depressed, and about 12 to 15 per cent of mothers become depressed after pregnancy and childbirth. There is a further peak at age 65 plus. Depression is much more than feeling a ‘bit down’ or ‘low’ occasionally, perhaps as a reaction to bad news, or some temporary difficulty in your life or at work. You may be depressed if you feel tired a lot of the time, even if you’ve been sleeping a lot; if your motivation for doing even normally enjoyable things has gone; if you have mystery aches and pains or headaches.
How to cope with depression?
Many people with depression have a strong tendency to ‘ruminate’, repeatedly churning over problems, difficult conversations and situations, to try to resolve them. But rumination is usually not helpful, and can actually get in the way of problem solving, and make depression worse.
There’s no single way of experiencing any of this, however. Some people become intensely depressed for a relatively short time, maybe lasting a few weeks; others may be mildly depressed for a long time, even years. Other people have variations on this, or a mix of experiences. There is some evidence that depression runs in families (especially bipolar depression) and there may be a genetic factor for some people. Major life pressures, especially bereavement or serious stress at work, or relationship difficulties, can also put people at higher risk. Fortunately, there are a variety of psychological therapies available to alleviate depression and it's cognitive, behavioural and emotional symptoms. If you feel that you need help to combat depression please do not hesitate to contact me.
Copyright Dr. Nazee Akbari. All rights reserved.