Most people feel sad, hopeless or fed up at times; it is part of life. However, with depression these feelings don't just go away. They can last for months, becoming so intense that everyday life becomes a struggle.

You may not realise how depressed you are for a while, especially if it has come on gradually. You might not even understand why you feel the way you do. You try to fight it and struggle on. You even blame yourself for being lazy or lacking willpower. People around you tell you to snap out of it, and so you avoid talking to others or seeking help.

However, depression is a serious condition, and the psychological pain associated with it can be immensely disabling and even terrifying. It is therefore crucial that you don't neglect your own needs and let it wear you down. You're not alone, even if you feel you are.

Recognising depression: what are the symptoms?
There are many psychological, physical and social symptoms of depression. Common symptoms include:

  • Continuous low mood and/or pervasive sadness
  • Feeling tearful or anxious
  • Finding it hard to focus
  • Having no motivation or interest in things
  • Feeling sluggish and losing interest in in sex
  • Struggling to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Avoiding social activities and friends
  • Having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself

If you experience some of these symptoms for most of the day, every day for more than two weeks, it is important that you seek support and professional help.

Treating depression: what are the options available?

Whilst there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach, there are a range of highly effective treatments that can help you overcome depression and reclaim your life. These include different types of psychotherapy, nutrition and lifestyles changes, as well as medication.

Some doctors can be far too quick to prescribe anti-depressants, and other drugs, in cases where medication should be a last resort. I will assess you using an integrative approach, and formulate a treatment plan based on the causes and severity of your depression, as well as other lifestyle factors. The important thing is determining the right treatment for your needs.

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