Seeing Depression with a Smile

Depression is a complex mental health problem that can be difficult to diagnose and tough to alleviate. While most peeople will have a depressive moment at some point, if these moments become frequent or long lasting, a serious problem has developed. There are a number of warning signs to look our for, both for yourself and in friends and family.Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life; setbacks at work, trouble with relationships, family loss and work pressures are all issues that effect mood and emotions.  When anxiety and despair take hold and won't go away, however, there may be a far more serious underlying problem. Depression affects millions of people across the country, and while there are a variety of effective treatments, recognising and diagnosing depression can be the hardest step.

Whatever the symptoms, depression engulfs day-to-day life and interferes with a person's ability to work, study, sleep, eat and socialise. The feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness are unrelenting and can develop into even more serious problems. Unfortunately, there are so many symptoms related to depression that diagnosis can become confused with other issues. People with more than three of the following signs may be suffering from clinical and long-term depression:

    • Sleeping too little or too much


    • Inability to concentrate on previously simple tasks


    • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness


    • Uncontrollable negative thoughts or feelings


    • Drastic loss or increase of appetite


    • Becoming short-tempered or aggressive for no reason


    • Engaging in reckless or addictive behaviour


    • Unexplained aches and pains


    • Suffering thoughts of self harm or suicide

Depression varies from person to person but there are many correlations between sufferers' symptoms. It is important to seek treatment before these signs increase or become more serious. Depression plays a major part in suicide as the sufferer believes that death is the only way out of the pain. Family and friends of depressed people must keep an eye out for the following dangerous signs:

    • Talking about harming themselves


    • An unusual preoccupation with death and dying


    • Acting recklessly with no concern for personal safety


    • Calling or visiting people to say goodbye


    • Giving away their possessions


    • A sudden switch between sadness to being calm and happy

Depression is a complex condition that requires time, patience and understanding if it is to be conquered.  Professional counselling can help address the root causes and can impart genuine hope that depression can ultimately be overcome.

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