This is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, affecting about 121 million people. Depression is characterised by a number of symptoms including a loss of interest and enjoyment in the ordinary things in life.
Types of depression
- Mild depression. This doesnt usually stop you leading your daily life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile.
- Moderate depression. This has a significant impact on your daily life, and you may have more symptoms than people with mild depression.
- Severe depression. This makes you feel uninterested in doing anything - daily activities are almost impossible.
There are also specific forms of depression, which include the following:
Dysthymia. This is mild depression, lasting at least two years.
Bipolar affective disorder - also known as manic depression or just bipolar disorder. This is a condition which causes mood swings. Your mood varies from excitement to depression and despair. You may also have hallucinations.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression with a seasonal pattern, occurring most commonly in the winter months.
Postnatal depression. This develops two to three weeks after childbirth and lasts for months or even years.
Symptoms of depression
If you have depression, you may have a number of different symptoms including:
- A continuous low mood, which may be worse in the mornings
- Feeling irritable
- Crying a lot
- A loss of interest in your social life
- A loss of self-confidence
- A lack of energy
- Tiredness and poor concentration
- Difficulty in making decisions
- Feeling helpless, worthless or hopeless
- Feeling guilty
- Thoughts about death and suicide
- A loss of sex drive (libido)
- Trouble sleeping - possibly taking one or two hoursto go to sleep or waking up earlier than usual
- Disturbed eating patterns - either loss of appetite or eating too much
- Unexplained or worsening aches and pains
- Physical slowness