We all feel sad, moody or low occasionally, but depression is more than feeling down.

Signs of depression are:

A persistent low mood (>2 weeks)

Loss of interest

Changes to sleeping and eating habits

Interference with daily life

The causes of depression are complex and are a combination of recent and long-term events and personal factors. One in four people experiences a depressed mood during their life.

What can be done?

Depression is common and treatable. Recovery from depression is quicker with support and treatment. Medication, increasing the amount of activity you do, counselling and social support may help. It is important to know that people can’t just ‘snap out’ of depression, and it is unlikely to go away on its own.

What help is there?

Learn as much as you can about your depression. It’s important to determine whether your depression symptoms are due to an underlying medical condition. If so, that condition will need to be treated first. The severity of your depression is also a factor. The more severe the depression, the more intensive the treatment you’re likely to need.

It takes time to find the right treatment. It might take some trial and error to find the treatment and support that works best for you. For example, if you decide to pursue therapy, it may take a few attempts to find a therapist that you really click with. Or you may try an antidepressant, only to find that you don’t need it if you take a daily half-hour walk. Be open to change and a little experimentation.

Don’t rely on medications alone. Although medication can relieve the symptoms of depression, it is not usually suitable for long-term use. Other treatments, including exercise and therapy, can be just as effective as medication, often even more so, but don’t come with unwanted side effects. If you do decide to try medication, remember that medication works best when you make healthy lifestyle changes as well.

Get social support. The more you cultivate your social connections, the more protected you are from depression. If you are feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to talk to trusted family members or friends, or seek out new connections at a depression support group, for example. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, and it won’t mean you’re a burden to others. Often, the simple act of talking to someone face-to-face can be an enormous help.

Treatment takes time and commitment. All of these depression treatments take time, and sometimes it might feel overwhelming or frustratingly slow. That is normal. Recovery usually has its ups and downs.

For further support & advice contact EAP Assist.