The most common symptoms of depression are low mood, loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and reduced energy and activity levels.  Other symptoms include:

  • Reduced concentration and attention
  • Poor self confidence and self esteem
  • Negative thoughts, often centred around guilt, self-blame, worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Disturbed sleep (problems going to sleep or waking earlier than usual)
  • Appetite changes (either reduced or increased appetite)
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of sex drive
  • In severe depression, thoughts of self-harm or suicide

For a diagnosis of depression to be made symptoms should be present every day for at least two weeks, and the symptoms must cause at least some difficulty in continuing with ordinary work and social functioning (  It is important to point out that depression is often unrelated to personal circumstances.

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems.  About 10% of the UK population will suffer from depression at any one time (Hale 1997).  Depression is more common in women, people who are unemployed, people with a family history of depression, and people who have few supportive friends or relatives.  Factors like these make it more likely that you might become depressed compared to those without any of these risk factors.

Most people do recover from depression but some people may experience more than one episode of depression.  Treatment, either in the form of talking therapy or anti-depressants, helps by speeding up recovery and reducing the chances of becoming depressed again.  Recommend treatments are as follows:

For mild-moderate depression:

–         Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

–         Computerised Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CCBT)

–         Dynamic Interpersonal Psychotherapy (DIT)

–         Couple Therapy

–         Counselling

–         Guided self help (based on CBT principles)

–         Guided self help (based on CBT principles)

For moderate-severe depression:

–         A combination of antidepressant medication and talking therapy (from a counsellor, therapist or psychologist)

–         Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), for those who have experienced three or more previous episodes.


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