Family Counseling is Important :





We all feel fed up, miserable or sad at times. These feelings don't usually last longer than a week or two, and they don't interfere too much with our lives. Sometimes there's a reason, sometimes not. We usually cope - we may talk to a friend but don't otherwise need any help.

However, in depression:

  • your feelings don't lift after a few days – they carry on for weeks or months

  • are so bad that they interfere with your life.

What does it feel like?

Most people with depression will not have all the symptoms listed below, but most will have at least five or six.


  • feel unhappy most of the time (but may feel a little better in the evenings)

  • lose interest in life and can't enjoy anything

  • find it harder to make decisions

  • can't cope with things that you used to

  • feel utterly tired

  • feel restless and agitated

  • lose appetite and weight (some people find they do the reverse and put on weight)

  • take 1-2 hours to get off to sleep, and then wake up earlier than usual

  • lose interest in sex

  • lose your self-confidence

  • feel useless, inadequate and hopeless

  • avoid other people

  • feel irritable

  • feel worse at a particular time each day, usually in the morning

  • think of suicide.

You may not realise how depressed you are for a while, especially if it has come on gradually. You try to struggle on and may even start to blame yourself for being lazy or lacking willpower. It sometimes takes a friend or a partner to persuade you that there really is a problem which can be helped.


You may start to notice pains, constant headaches or sleeplessness. Physical symptoms like this can be the first sign of depression.


Why does it happen?

As with our everyday feelings of low mood, there will sometimes be an obvious reason for becoming depressed, sometimes not. It can be a disappointment, a frustration, or that you have lost something - or someone – important to you. There is often more than one reason, and these will be different for different people. They include:


  • Things that happen in our lives

It is normal to feel depressed after a distressing event - bereavement, a divorce or losing a job. You may well spend a lot of time over the next few weeks or months thinking and talking about it. After a while you come to terms with what's happened. But you may get stuck in a depressed mood, which doesn't seem to lift.


  • Circumstances

If you are alone, have no friends around, are stressed, have other worries or are physically run down, you are more likely to become depressed.


  • Physical Illness

Physical illnesses can affect the way the brain works and so cause depression. These include:

  • life-threatening illnesses like cancer and heart disease

  • long and/or painful illnesses, like arthritis

  • viral infections like 'flu' or glandular fever - particularly in younger people

  • hormonal problems, like an under-active thyroid.

  • Personality

Some of us seem to be more vulnerable to depression than others. This may be because of our genes, because of experiences early in our life, or both.


  • Alcohol

Regular heavy drinking makes you more likely to get depressed – and, indeed, to kill yourself.


  • Gender

Women seem to get depressed more often than men.  It may be that men are less likely to talk about their feelings, and more likely to deal with them by drinking heavily or becoming aggressive. Women are more likely to have the double stress of having to work and look after children.


  • Genes

Depression can run in families. If you have one parent who has become severely depressed, you are about eight times more likely to become depressed yourself.


What about bipolar disorder (manic depression)?

About one in 10 people who suffer from serious depression will also have periods when they are too happy and overactive. This used to be called manic depression, but is now often called Bipolar Disorder. It affects the same number of men and women and tends to run in families (see leaflet on Bipolar Disorder).


Isn't depression just a form of weakness?

Other people may think that you have just 'given in', as if you have a choice in the matter. The fact is there comes a point at which depression is much more like an illness than anything else. It can happen to the most determined of people – even powerful personalities can experience deep depression. Winston Churchill called it his ‘black dog'.


When should I seek help?

  • When your feelings of depression are worse than usual and don't seem to get any better.

  • When your feelings of depression affect your work, interests and feelings towards your family and friends.

  • If you find yourself feeling that life is not worth living, or that other people would be better off without you.

It may be enough to talk things over with a relative or friend. If this doesn't help, you probably need to talk it over with your GP. You may find that your friends and family have noticed a difference in you and have been worried about you.


Helping yourself

  • Don't keep it to yourself

If you've had some bad news, or a major upset, tell someone close to you -  tell them how you feel. You may need to talk (and maybe cry) about it more than once. This is part of the mind's natural way of healing.


  • Do something

Get out of doors for some exercise, even if only for a walk. This will help you to keep physically fit, and will help you sleep. Even if you can't work, it's good to keep active. This could be housework, do-it-yourself (even as little as changing a light bulb), or any activity that is part of your normal routine.


  • Eat well

You may not feel like eating - but try to eat regularly. Depression can make you lose weight and run short of vitamins which will only make you feel  worse. Fresh fruit and vegetables are particularly helpful.


  • Beware alcohol!

Try not to drown your sorrows with a drink. Alcohol actually makes depression worse. It may make you feel better for a short while, but it doesn't last. Drinking can stop you dealing with important problems and from getting the right help. It's also bad for your physical health.



  • Sleep

If you can't sleep, try not to worry about it. Settle down with some relaxing music or television while you're lying in bed. Your body will get a chance to rest and, with your mind occupied, you may feel less anxious and find it easier to get some sleep.


  • Tackle the cause

If you think you know what is behind your depression, it can help to write down the problem and then think of the things you could do to tackle it. Pick the best things to do and try them.


  • Keep hopeful

Remind yourself that:

  • Many other people have had depression. 

  • It may be hard to believe, but you will eventually come out of it.

  • Depression can sometimes be helpful – you may come out of it stronger and better able to cope. It can help you to see situations and relationships more clearly.

  • You may be able to make important decisions and changes in your life, which you have avoided in the past.





Articles - Mental Health


Articles - Addiction Recovery

  Alcohol and Depression   How Do I Get into Rehab?    
  Antidepressants   Challenging the Addiction    
  Anxiety and Phobias   Drug Rehab: A Therapist's Perspective    
  Bereavement   An Explanation of Hypnotherapy    
  Bipolar Affective Disorder   How to Choose the Best Rehab Center        
  Cannabis and mental health   Talking to Kids: Drug and Alcohol Help Resources        
  Checklist for people with mental health problems   5 Deadly Drug Combos        
  Checklist for carers   The 5 Truths for Parents of Drug Addicts        
  Depression   Addiction: An Equal Opportunity Disease        
  Drug Treatment of Alzheimer's disease   Meth Addiction and Recovery - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment        
  Mental Illness after Childbirth   An Online Guide to Nicotine Withdrawal        
  Obsessive compulsive disorder   Identifying and Helping a Loved One's Addiction        
  Postnatal Depression   What a Pain! Signs of Painkiller Addiction        
  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder   Little Eyes Are Watching You        
  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - key facts   Alcohol Abuse and the Brain: A Symphony of Chaos        
  Schizophrenia   Experiencing a Higher Power        
  Self harm - brief version            
  Sleeping well            
  Smoking & mental health            

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