Coping with Depression

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Most of us can identify with feeling "fed up" or "down".  Depression is a deeper experience when  life becomes hardly worth living.  It is said that depression is the "common cold" of psychiatry - with 1 in every 5 people suffering from the condition sometime during their life.  Women apparently are twice as likely to be affected as men.  It is now believed that depression is due to biochemical changes in the brain - an imbalance of a neurotransmitter such as serotonin.  The treatment often includes anti-depressants from the SSRI family of drugs - Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors. 

Depression can be the result of life events - such as bereavement, divorce, illness and childbirth (Post-Natal Depression).  There are other forms of depression which include SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder - due to lack of daylight in the Winter months,  which can be treated successfully with light therapy.   Bipolar Affective Disorder  (Manic Depressive Psychosis) is a condition whereby the sufferer experiences cycling extremes of mood (affect) - periods of depression and mania.  See Bipolar Affective Disorder page for more information.

Symptoms of depression can include a continual feeling of sadness, tearfulness, apathy, inability to cope with daily life, lack of pleasure in everyday activities, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, agitation or restlessness, going off sex, feelings of guilt and hopelessness, feeling worthless, worrying excessively, tiredness, physical complaints.  When symptoms are severe and lasting - then get qualified help, initially from your General Practitioner.

Depression can often be mistaken.  Sufferers often go to their GP complaining of 1 or 2 symptoms - such as general aches and pains, headaches, tiredness, rather than their low mood.

If you feel that you or a relative/friend is at risk of attempting to take their own life - get help NOW!  Contact your doctor, the Samaritans - someone.   It is not true that those people who talk about suicide, won't do it.



Talk to someone - initially perhaps to a family member, or to your GP.  He/she will be able to refer you to a counsellor or therapist for further help. 

Don't bottle things up - it's OK to cry!

Learn to Relax, and control Anxiety and Anger - which can be a feature of depression.

Eat healthily - maintaining a well balanced diet

Physical Exercise is a natural mood enhancer

Avoid Alcohol - you may think it makes you feel better, but it acts on the brain as a depressant

Do something! and take the necessary steps to Keep Well

Build your Self-Esteem

Learn to be Assertive

Use the Links here - to get more information about depression and self-help groups

You are depressed - many others have gone through a similar experience and come out of it.  You WILL get well!


How can Friends & Relatives help?

Encourage the person to talk

Listen, and offer sympathy

Don't bully them

Offer reassurance - they will get better

Don't say "Pull yourself together" or expect the depressed person to "snap out of it"

Encourage them to eat healthily, and take their medication as prescribed

Don't criticize

Be patient


Depression Links                          Books             Seasonal Affective Disorder

National Depression Campaign

Changing Minds - Depression

Depression Alliance 

Ways to help yourself when you're feeling suicidal

What family and friends can do to help

Depression in Children and Young People   Written for young people

Methods for Coping with Depression

Depression at Suite 101

Depression   RCPsych

BMJ Papers

Facts about Depression - NetDoctor

Grief and Bereavement NetDoctor

Coping with Grief

Mood Disorders

Depression Central

Depression Resource Centre

Depression FAQ

Standing in the Shadows  for teens

Whispers of Sadness

St Johns Wort FAQ

Serious Side Effects may Accompany Use of Non-Prescription Anti-Depressants

Post-Natal Depression

Bipolar Affective Disorder  -  Manic Depression

Becks Depression Inventory  Assessment Tool

Online Screening Quiz   (Goldberg)    Forum

Usenet Depression Support Forums

UK People Support Depression  - Forum

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter Depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder - Real and Treatable

Shedding Light on SAD

Outside In   Light Therapy

Light Therapy


Living Without Depression and Manic Depression
We heard the Angels of Madness
Surviving Post-Natal Depression
Being Happy!
Mind Over Mood  - Self-Help with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (Clinician's Guide also available)
Breaking the Pattern of Depression
The Beast - A Journey Through Depression
Control Your Depression
Depression - Your Questions Answered
Essential Guide to Depression
Overcoming Depression
Coping with Anxiety and Depression

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17 March 2002