Depression has some of the following characteristics:
- Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
- Mental and physical agitation or lethargy
- Loss of or increase in appetite and significant weight loss or gain
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Depressed mood most of the day nearly every day
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Reduced ability to concentrate or indecisiveness
- Suicidal ideation
The essential feature is a depressed mood and/or loss of interest or enjoyment in customary activities that represents a change from previous functioning and that persists for two weeks or more.
Your GP is the first person you should speak to about depression if you are experiencing these symptoms. They can offer a listening ear and prescribe mood regulating medication. Often they will refer you for counselling because although the medication can improve mood regulation, there may be underlying issues within your life that left unaddressed may be fueling the depression. Regular exercise is also effective in treating depression.
Studies have attempted to determine if medication, counselling, exercise or a combination of these are most effective for dealing with depression. The only definitive results seem to be that people respond differently to each treatment. Having an open mind to these possible courses of treatment may be the best advice we can give you. Try them out and see what works best for you.