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5. How Does Depression Affect People?

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In conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Week, this blog will look at the issue of depression including:

Person looking down a dark tunnel

Symptoms of Depression

Depression and loneliness often go hand-in-hand. This is because people suffering with depression will often find it difficult to be around other people. Even the smallest tasks, such as washing or even leaving their bed, can seem completely overwhelming.

The following are some of the symptoms of depression:

  • Feelings of despair that you cannot escape from
  • Feeling exhausted and being tired all the time
  • Total lack of emotions and feeling disconnected and uninterested in things that used to interest you
  • Feeling miserable, hopeless and tearful
  • Thoughts of death or suicidal ideation
  • Memory problems, loss of concentration and inability to make decisions

Causes of Depression

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of depression. Although a variety of factors are often involved, each individual case is different. However, some of the most common causes include:

  • Hormones and brain chemistry.
  • A variety of traumas.
  • Life circumstances or events.

These risk factors can often be a trigger for depression. The complications and consequences of depression can be serious for the individual as well as their families and loved ones. Depression may even lead to addiction issues, be that alcohol, drugs and tobacco, or even suicidal thoughts.

Managing Depression

As with other mental health conditions, there is no definite cure. However, the following are some ways of managing depression:

  • Take care of your physical health & wellbeing including daily exercise and good nutrition.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep — ideally around 8 hours per night.
  • Practise meditation and breathing techniques to help you relax and alleviate stress.
  • Reach out to someone for support — this could be online, on the phone or in person with someone you know and feel safe with. Having a support networks is vital when facing depression.
  • Talk to your doctor who can signpost other useful organisations or groups.
  • Medication may be necessary on a short-term basis to manage more serious symptoms.

Remember — depression is nothing to be ashamed of, and seeking help is a positive step towards coping with this mental health condition.