Depression will affect one in four women and one in ten men at some time during their lives. The differences between rates in men and women are believed to be due to hormone changes linked to menstruation, childbirth and menopause. Despite the huge numbers involved, far fewer than this actually seek help for the condition due to the perceived social stigma of mental health conditions. Most depressions will lift on their own, eventually, but there are a range of methods with which to tackle depression and shift the low mood far faster than battling it alone.
We often say, “I’m depressed …” when we’ve had a bad day or some unpleasant news, however this is not the same as being clinically depressed which is a persistent sadness or lack of interest in life. The most prevalent symptoms of depression are:
•A continual sad mood for more than two weeks.
•A general lack of interest in activities you would normally enjoy.
•Tiredness or loss of energy.
•Low self-esteem or feelings of inappropriate guilt.
•Disturbed sleep from your usual pattern.
•Poor appetite or comfort eating.(diuretics)
•Poor concentration even on simple tasks.
Thoughts of death or that life is not worth living. Phrases such as “I don’t care if I don’t wake up in the morning” are common.
If several of these symptoms are causing you to function less effectively, and you have not been abusing alcohol or drugs, and do not have a physical problem such as an underactive thyroid or pituitary gland, you may be suffering from depression.
Some patients develop physical symptoms such as migraine, chest pains and palpitations which leads them to consult a doctor. Many people with depression also find that their symptoms are worst first thing in the morning.
This is a condition which can respond well to a multi-facetted approach, but it is essential that in planning your strategy to combat depression you do it in conjunction with your doctor or coordinating therapist to ensure that supplements or herbal remedies do not interact adversely with any medication you may be taking.