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Depression – What is It?

Depression is an emotional disorder that affects way you think feel. It can be a long-term problem or a short-term episode, symptoms can include feelings of sadness, irritability, fatigue and weight loss.

Many people who suffer from depression find it helps to talk about their condition with a professional. This could be a GP, counsellor or other specialist mental professional. Psychotherapy can help you to understand why you feel depressed and what can help you.

Your GP or another health professional will carry out an evaluation to confirm a diagnosis of depression and decide on the best treatment plan for you. This will involve an interview, physical examination and possibly a blood test. The doctor will also take a detailed medical history and explore your family history, social situation and cultural influences to arrive at the most effective treatment for you.

Symptoms of depression are usually very severe and may affect your daily life. These symptoms can include feelings of sadness, irritability, clinginess and tiredness. They can be severe enough to interfere with work, school and relationships. In some cases, depression can lead to a feeling of worthlessness and even suicidal thoughts.

Medication is a very useful treatment for depression and can sometimes be used in addition to or in place of psychological therapy. It works by affecting the brain chemicals (such as serotonin and dopamine) that cause the depression. The most common types of medication for depression are antidepressants.

If you’re taking antidepressants, make sure you discuss any side effects with your GP and keep taking the medication as prescribed. If you stop taking the medicine, it can be very hard to get back on track.

You can try other forms of therapy as well, such as guided meditation or hypnosis. If you use hypnosis, your therapist will teach you ways to control your thoughts and emotions. They’ll also give you tips for improving your sleep and eating habits.

A number of studies have shown that a combination of therapy and antidepressants can be very helpful in treating depression. You may need to attend several sessions before you start seeing any significant changes in your mood.

Having a conversation with your GP is the first step in seeking help for depression, and can be particularly important if you have a family history of depression. They may be able to refer you on for treatment on the NHS.

Your GP will be able to help you choose a therapist, or if you don’t have one, they may be able to put you in touch with someone nearby who does. It’s best to have a GP who is familiar with talking therapies and can prescribe antidepressants.

It’s also helpful to have a supportive and understanding partner, parent or other carer. They can be an essential part of the recovery process, helping you through any tough times or bringing you out of the depression when it’s most needed.

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