Depression is one of the most prolific mental health problems that can lead to people experiencing increased negative emotions, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of low self-worth, disturbed sleep or eating, low energy and poor concentration. Mild depression can make everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile, however it does not necessarily stop you from being able to carry on your day-to-day life. Severe depression can be life threatening because it can initiate suicidal thoughts or make people give up the will to live leading to a deterioration of physical health.
At different times people occupy negative emotional states, usually, though not always, due to a particular cause. Depression, however, is a longer and more permanent experience of negative emotional states such as anxiety or helplessness, and its cause is often, though not always, indeterminate. Most people with depression will experience symptoms such as:
- Loss of interest
- Difficulty making decisions
- Disrupted sleep or appetite
- Restlessness and agitation
- Low self-esteem – feeling inadequate or helpless
- Loneliness and detachedness from relationships
- Avoidance of social situations
- Struggling at a particular time of day, often, but not always, in the morning
The causes of depression vary greatly, and can originate in childhood experiences, life circumstances, physical health issues or mental health disorders. There is good evidence to suggest that those who go through difficult or traumatic experiences in childhood are more likely to experience depression in later life, partly because of the effect it can have on the individual’s self-esteem and on how they have learnt to cope with difficult emotions. Similarly, unwelcome or potentially traumatic life events such as bereavement, serious illness, or enforced life changes can also trigger depression. Indeed, sometimes there may be no obvious reason for the onset of depression. Whatever the cause may be, entering into the therapeutic setting and identifying what it is that might be affecting your emotional balance, understanding why, and then attempting to change unhelpful thinking patterns and behaviour, is a valuable, if not essential, undertaking.
If depression, or any other aspect of your mental health, is causing you problems in your life and relationships, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the portland practice, and arrange a consultation with our mental health professionals here.
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