What is depression?
Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.
In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal.
What causes depression?
There are several ideas about what causes depression. It can vary a lot between different people, and for some people a combination of different factors may cause their depression. Some find that they become depressed without any obvious reason.
Some possible causes of depression:
- Childhood experiences
- Life events
- Physical health problems
- Genetic inheritance
- Medical, recreational drugs and alcohol
- Sleep, diet and exercise
Common signs and symptoms of depression
Here are some common signs of depression you may experience.
How you might feel
- down, upset or tearful
- restless, agitated or irritable
- guilty, worthless and down on yourself
- empty and numb
- isolated and unable to relate to other people
- finding no pleasure in file or things you usually enjoy
- a sense of unreality
- no self-confidence or self-esteem
- hopeless and despairing
How you might behave
- avoiding social events and activities you usually enjoy
- self-harming or suicidal behaviour
- difficulty speaking, thinking clearly or making decisions
- difficulty remembering or concentrating on things
- physical aches and pains with no obvious physical cause
- moving very slowly, or being restless and agitated
- using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
- difficulty sleeping, or sleeping too much
- feeling tired all the time
- losing interest in sex
- no appetite and losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight