Jeff Dunbar BBA CH

Copyright 2013 Jeff Dunbar  All Rights Reserved


We all go through spells of feeling down, but when you're depressed, you feel persistently sad for weeks or months rather than just a few days.

Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. This is NOT correct. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it's not a sign of weakness or something you can 'snap out of' by 'pulling yourself together'. However, not everybody suffering Depression is affected in the same way and this has led to it being regarded as “just poor thinking”.

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery from depression.

How do I know?

Depression affects people in many different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

These can range from feelings of sadness and hopelessness to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy. You may feel tearful or experience Anxiety.

There can also be physical symptoms such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or a loss of sex drive.

The severity of the symptoms varies from individual to individual. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low, while at its most severe, depression can make you feel suicidal and that life is no longer worth living.

It's important to seek help from your Doctor if you think you may be depressed.

Many people wait far too long before seeking help for depression, but it's best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor, counsellor or therapist, the sooner you can be on your way to recovery.

Sometimes there may be a trigger for your depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, or losing your job or even having a baby, can bring it on and it must be remembered that some of the “depressive” feelings experienced following the loss of a close relative are perfectly normal.

People with a family history of depression are also more likely to experience depression themselves.

But you can also become depressed for no obvious reason.

The different Types of Depression

Clinical Depression

A major depressive episode may have occurred when symptoms last for most of the day, nearly every day for at least two weeks. A symptom must either be 1) depressed mood or 2) a noticeable decrease in interest or pleasure in all or most activities.

At least four (or more) additional symptoms are normally present:


Typically a nearly constant depressed mood for at least 2 years accompanied by at least two (or more) of the following:

Symptoms do not generally occur for more than about two months at a time. This form of depression is described as having persistent but less severe symptoms than a “Major Depression”.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder includes periods of mania and depression and was once known as “manic depression”. The “cycling” between these two states can be rapid or only mania may be present without any depressive episodes.

A manic episode consists of a persistent elevated or irritable mood that is extreme, which lasts for at least a week. At least three (four if only irritable mood) other features are also usually experienced:

Symptoms can be severe enough to warrant hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others or may even include psychotic features (e.g. hallucinations, delusions).

If you have experienced any of these more “severe” symptoms, I urge you, in the first instance, to discuss the matter with your Doctor.