Depression is a very common condition which affects 1 in 10 people at any one time, that is 450,000 people in Ireland alone. Any one of us, irrespective of age, gender or background can be affected. Recovery is possible. Early recognition and ongoing support are key to a positive outcome.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental health condition which can affect thinking, energy, feelings and behaviour. It can vary from mild to severe and can have a profound impact, affecting every aspect of the individual, their relationships, family and work life.
It is possible to minimise the impact of depression by accessing information and support, and finding ways to manage the condition.
How can it affect me?
Depression has 8 main symptoms:
- Feeling: sad, anxious, guilty
- Energy: low energy, tired or fatigued
- Sleep: under or over sleeping, any change to normal sleep pattern
- Thinking: poor concentration, thoughts slowed down
- Interest: loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life
- Values: low self esteem
- Aches: physical aches and pains with no physical basis
- Life: loss of interest in living, thinking about death, suicidal thoughts
If you notice five or more symptoms lasting for a period, of two weeks or more, Aware recommends that you see your GP.
What can I do?
If you think you have depression, Aware recommends that you speak to your GP or a mental health professional. This will help you to get a correct diagnosis and decide which approach to treatment is best for you. If you believe a loved one may be experiencing depression, we suggest you access our information specifically for relatives on www.aware.ie.
Learning to cope with depression
- There are a number of treatment options available – lifestyle changes, talk therapies, medication or a combination of these.
- Exercise can be very beneficial. Exercise releases endorphins in your body which are known to improve your mood.
- As sleep is often impacted when mood is low, it is helpful to consider what aids your sleep. Try not to drink tea and coffee late at night as they are stimulants. Consider leaving your electronic devices out of your bedroom. It is helpful to prepare for sleep.
- Try to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. A healthy diet produces a healthy body and a healthy mind.
- Alcohol is a depressant and can be a potent trigger to low mood, especially in individuals prone to depression. It can also interact dangerously with some medication.
- You might find it useful to write down three things you achieved at the end of each day. This can contribute towards building your self-esteem.
- Try to focus on what is going well in your life. Even on a bad day, there are good moments in it. Consider keeping a gratitude diary and noting three good things that happen each day.
- Above all, do not try to deal with depression on your own. Reach out to family and friends and use the help and support that is available to you. Keep support line numbers close to hand and consider attending a support group. Talking to someone who understands can bring reassurance and enable you to learn new coping skills.
Support Line – 1800 80 48 48 [Freephone]
Support Mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Support & Self Care Groups – nationwide - Click to find out more
Visit the Aware website - www.aware.ie