Depression. What is it?

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or miserable for a few days. Lots of men, woman and children go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

Many people think depression is insignificant and not a genuine health condition. This is wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or something you can snap out of by pulling yourself together.

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.


Depression is fairly common, affecting about one in 10 people at some point during their life. It affects men and women, young and old. Depression can have a wide range of symptoms. Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide.

Cause and symptoms of it

Sometimes there is a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job or even having a baby, can bring it on.

The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal and that life is no longer worth living.


Treatment for depression can involve a combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medication. Your recommended treatment will be based on whether you have mild, moderate or severe depression.

If you have mild depression, it may be suggested waiting to see whether it improves on its own, while monitoring your progress.

Talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are often used for mild depression that isn’t improving or moderate depression. Antidepressants are also sometimes prescribed.

For moderate to severe depression, a combination of talking therapy and antidepressants is often recommended.

It’s important to seek help from a doctor if you think you may be depressed.