Depression: Everything you need to know

Depression is a mood disorder where feelings of a low mood may linger and impact everyday life. We all feel sad or low in mood from time to time. However, depression lasts longer, often weeks or months. It is an illness and one that has a debilitating effect on the sufferer. This article looks at just what it is, the signs and symptoms, and the help available.

What is depression?

Depression is characterised as a low mood that lasts a long time. It can affect the individual’s ability to engage with the usual day to day activities. It is typically associated with sadness, but it can also present differently in some cases.

What causes depression?

Someone may attribute it to something that has happened in their life. This could be such things as stress, grief, relationship difficulties or illness. However, it may also be caused by changes in brain chemistry, hormone imbalance or low blood sugar levels.

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression affects people in a variety of different ways, and there are various symptoms. Here are some ways it may present:

  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Lack of interest in things that you have previously enjoyed
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to find fun, enjoyment or happiness in things
  • Feeling disconnected from others or from day to day life
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Sense of worthlessness
  • Lack of or low energy
  • Lack of interest in sex
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Sleeping more or less than usual
  • Feeling tired
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Self harm
  • Physical aches or pains

Types of depression?

Depression can present in different forms, including; clinical depression, prenatal depression, postnatal depression, and seasonal adjustment disorder.

What help is available?

There is a range of different treatments that can help individuals with depression. Common treatments include a combination of self-help, lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medication. The correct treatment for an individual can depend on its severity and the symptoms experienced.

Self-help treatments

These can include activities such as exercise, relaxation and mindfulness practice to help lessen and alleviate some symptoms.

Lifestyle changes

There are many changes that an individual can make to their lifestyle to help reduce symptoms. This includes increased exercise, making changes to diet, stopping smoking, reducing stress and cutting down alcohol.


In some circumstances, antidepressant medication may be recommended. Different people may find different medications more efficient than others. The individual’s GP will be able to advise on the correct course of treatment.

Talking Therapies

Talking therapies can be very effective in treating depression. Counselling can help determine the root cause of the depression and may assist the individual with making sense of the feelings and symptoms they are experiencing. We offer counselling services to help individuals effectively explore the issues they are struggling with.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), which is recommended for treating depression by The National Institute of Clinical Health Care Excellence (NICE) is a popular and common treatment. It helps someone look at how their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes affect their behaviour and feelings. Here at Hope Therapy, our team of trained therapists are on hand to deliver effective CBT to those in need of support.

Mindfulness can also be an invaluable tool in the treatment of depression. Mindfulness can assist the individual with staying focused, finding clarity and dealing with difficult situations more easily. We offer Mindfulness services, including our Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) course, which is a programme blending mindfulness teachings with CBT practices.

For more information on any of the services offered at Hope Therapy, please feel free to contact us.

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Ian Stockbridge

Owner and lead counsellor of Hope Therapy & Counselling Services.

Mobile: 07379-538411

Ian Stockbridge - Counselling in Wantage

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