Live Well, Work Well: Mental Health

Mental Health: Depression

Everyone occasionally has bouts of sadness, but these feelings are usually temporary. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life and normal functioning. It is a common but serious illness.

There is no single known cause of depression, but it likely results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental and psychological factors. Depression commonly coexists with other illnesses, such as anxiety disorders or alcohol/substance abuse. It can affect anyone at any time, from children to older adults.

Types of Depression

There are several forms of depressive disorders, the most common being the first two listed below.

  • Major depressive disorder—characterised by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s daily life; it is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally.
  • Dysthymic disorder—also called dysthymia, it is long-term (two years or longer) feelings of depression that are not extremely severe but still prevent a person from normal functions of daily life.
  • Psychotic depression—occurs in conjunction with a form of psychosis, such as hallucinations or delusions.
  • Postpartum depression—can occur within a year of giving birth. Symptoms include: sadness, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, anxiety, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)—characterised by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight.

Symptoms

People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration will vary depending on the individual and the illness. Symptoms may include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or ’empty’ feelings
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or hopelessness
  • Irritability, restlessness and/or fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities once pleasurable
  • A dramatic change in appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Thoughts of suicide

Diagnosis and Treatment

Depression is a highly treatable disorder. The first step is to visit a doctor, where he/she will perform a medical examination and rule out other factors that may be causing the condition, such as certain medications or a thyroid disorder. Once diagnosed, a person will likely be treated with psychotherapy and/or medication. In the meantime, it is important to exercise, participate in activities, spend time with friends and relatives, and think positively. It is also wise to postpone any major decisions, such as marriage or a career change, until feeling better.

Helping Those Affected

Knowing a depressed person can affect you too. The most important thing to do is to help the person get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Other ways to lend a hand:

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Never ignore comments about suicide—report them to your friend’s relative or doctor.
  • Invite your friend to do things with you. If he/she declines, keep trying, but don’t push.
  • Remind your friend that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.

The content of this blog is of general interest only and not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. It does not address all potential compliance issues with UK, EU or any other regulations. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal or medical advice and not be relied upon as such. It should not be used, adopted or modified without competent legal and medical advice or opinion. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice.

Read our other posts

Marriott Guests Exposed by Recent Hack

Marriott Guests Exposed by Recent Hack

Personal information from 500 million Marriott guests exposed in Recent Hack. Marriott International, a hospitality company that oversees one of the largest hotel chains in the world, recently announced that its guest booking system had been hacked. Marriott indicated that information from approximately 500 million of their guests had been exposed in the breach, making […]

Defrosting Your Car

Defrosting Your Car

Now that the cold mornings are here and our morning is now a little bit longer, as drivers across the UK are having to make extra time to defrost & defog their cars. We’ve created this guide with handy tips and tricks, that can help you get on your way that little bit quicker. Step 1: […]

Stress Management

Stress Management

Hectic schedules can also lead to increased stress levels, so it’s important to alleviate stress whenever you can. Too much stress can lead to the following health issues: insomnia, anxiety or depression, low morale, short temper, headaches, stomach aches, back problems. Use the following tips to help alleviate stress as it comes your way. Tips […]

Budget 2018 – Last Before Brexit

Budget 2018 – Last Before Brexit

On 29th October 2018, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered the 2018 Budget, his third budget as chancellor and the last before Brexit hits. Hammond declared that the budget is aimed at helping ‘hard-working families, the strivers, the grafters and the carers’. In addition, Hammond’s budget supported Theresa May’s earlier statements by telling the […]

Car Parks: Safety Tips

Car Parks: Safety Tips

Car parks are common hazards for drivers and vehicles alike. Slips, falls, car accidents, theft, harassment and assaults are just some of the risks individuals face while using car parks. Even the car parks and garages at your place of employment can be dangerous. Thankfully, there are simple precautions drivers can take to protect themselves […]