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What Is Depression?

What Is Depression: Mental health issues can have many different causes and effects, from anxiety to behavioural issues like aggression and OCD.

However, one of the most common mental health issues is depression.

Depression affects about 16 million people in the UK – but it can affect anyone at any time, regardless of the amount of money or resources you have.

There are a number of reasons why someone may be diagnosed with depression, including physical illness, a traumatic experience or a bereavement.

What Is Depression

While there are treatments that can help relieve depression and prevent the condition recurring, many people who have experienced depression also have many other problems.

For example, people may have poor coping skills, struggle with anger management or have low self-esteem or feel worthless.

Depression can impact every part of your life and it’s important that you take the right course of action to support yourself.

Picture: PA

How does it affect you?

Depression is a mental health problem that causes a lack of happiness and can have a devastating impact on both your emotional and physical health.

It’s different for everyone and some people may feel depressed only at certain times in their lives.

A person with depression may feel unhappy or low for weeks or even months on end.

It can make it difficult to function at school or work, and your ability to make and keep friends may be affected.

When you’re depressed, your mental health can also impact your physical health.

For example, when you’re feeling low, you may cut yourself and carry out self-harm, which can increase your risk of serious injury or death.

Some people with depression also have thoughts of suicide.

There are a number of ways to spot a person who might be at risk of depression and tell someone they need help.

These include:

  • Feeling anxious and moody – for example, snapping at family members
  • Not eating – you might be lethargic and sleep too much
  • Feeling down and experiencing low self-esteem
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope
  • Neglecting personal hygiene and spending more time in the bathroom
  • Being a burden to your friends and family
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Thinking too much about the future
  • Having very little drive or interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Breathing slowly and taking long, deep breaths
  • Feeling jumpy or on edge
  • Tremors, shaking or nausea
  • Feeling easily startled
  • Having anorexia, bulimia or feeling the need to binge
  • Dying or feeling suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Trying to avoid or escape from things that make you anxious
  • Having problems sleeping, waking up or concentrating
  • A loss of interest in favourite activities or hobbies
  • Having insomnia or not being able to sleep more than four hours a night
  • Agitation, aggression or anger
  • Feeling that you can’t breathe or you’re choking
  • Feeling very anxious, agitated or paranoid
  • Not being able to make decisions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty talking or making sense

Anxiety and panic attacks are common and usually happen in response to a trigger.

Many people with depression also experience social anxiety and mood swings.

What are the signs?

There are many signs someone might be suffering from depression and they can include the following:

  • Unexplained changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Tiredness, anxiety or irritability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Severe, persistent pain or suffering
  • Pregnancy
  • Feeling irritable
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Feeling angry or sad
  • Feeling restless or twitchy
  • Feeling as if you have been brought down by life
  • Feeling guilty, worthless or worthless
  • Feeling angry or sad for no reason
  • Being suicidal
  • Feeling detached from reality
  • Feeling as if you’ve lost control
  • Loss of interest in work or other activities
  • Loss of enjoyment of hobbies
  • Feeling agitated or irritable
  • Feeling constantly on edge

Can’t remember the last time you felt happy or were interested in anything

How does depression affect your heart?

Depression can have a serious impact on a person’s cardiovascular health and there are also a number of heart health issues that can be triggered by depression, including high blood pressure, anxiety and sleep problems.

Over half of people who are diagnosed with depression will develop high blood pressure at some point in their life.

While physical activity can help keep depression at bay, long periods without exercise can also increase a person’s chances of developing high blood pressure.

Not sleeping

Even mild sleep problems can have a significant impact on a person’s cardiovascular health, including blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate, blood vessels and even heart attacks.

It’s difficult to get enough rest at the best of times but depression can make it difficult to get the restorative sleep that is necessary to heal the body and mind.

Watching too much TV

Lack of sleep can make you feel irritable, anxious or depressed, which is a recipe for disaster if you’re feeling low.

People with depression are less likely to have sex, or have a partner, for this reason.

Impaired concentration

It’s common for people with depression to have a reduced concentration or general lack of interest in things.

For example, many people with depression have problems with concentration and even paying attention to things.

A low concentration can result in memory loss, impaired problem-solving and word processing.

Using substances

For some people, simply existing with depression is a struggle. Alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can provide a way of distracting oneself from life and it can lead to a person making poor decisions.

Problems in mood regulation

People with depression have difficulty controlling their mood.

In fact, people with depression can experience episodes of anger and violence which can lead to them needing to seek help from the police and their local health services.

Anxiety

Alcohol or drugs may make a person feel worse about themselves or can put them into situations where they may suffer physical violence, such as a fight or flight reaction.

Borderline personality disorder

People with BPD, also known as borderline personality disorder, have extreme mood swings and instability. They experience more of these mood swings than healthy people and they are more likely to be aggressive.

The main trigger for BPD symptoms is a loss of interpersonal relationships or strong emotions.

Dangerous driving

People with depression are more likely to suffer a road accident, with research indicating that over 40 percent of all road deaths in the US could be prevented if depression was treated.

If a person is struggling to manage depression, they should see a doctor who can prescribe medication.

In many cases, medication can help reduce the frequency of the worst depressive episodes and the overall severity of a person’s symptoms.

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