Everyone experiences changes in mood, and it is normal to feel sad at times even if there is no clear reason. However, sometimes these feelings can become too much to deal with by yourself and you may need help from a healthcare professional.
What is Depression?
Depression is a serious medical condition which involves intense feelings of sadness and low mood. What causes it is unclear, but it is often a consequence of a number of factors which can involve changes in your life (eg loss of job or relationship, death of loved one) as well as personal factors (eg relatives with depression, medical conditions and drug and alcohol use).
What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression can take many forms and affect people differently, however common symptoms can include:
Persistent ‘low mood’ which often can’t be explained
Loss of interest in activities which are normally enjoyable (eg seeing friends, hobbies, sports)
Persistent feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Change in sleep habits (eg oversleeping or inability to sleep)
Change in appetite (eg loss of appetite or overeating)
Inability to concentrate on tasks (eg diminished work performance)
Loss of energy
Thoughts of hurting or killing self
What should I do if I feel like this?
If you have any of the above symptoms (in particular thoughts of self-harm or suicide), it is important that you tell someone! Talking to a trusted loved-one can help and is important, but another important first step is to talk to your GP about these feelings. Your GP can be an important source of support when you are feeling like this, and can organise a plan to manage these feelings. Sometimes this may involve medication, but also the GP may get you in contact with mental health professionals who can provide counselling and therapy and assist you with strategies to overcome the challenging emotions you may be experiencing.
There are many great resources online which can provide you with more information, including:
Black Dog Institute: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au
Clinical Research Unit for Anxiety and Depression (CRUfAD): www.crufad.com
Inspire Foundation: http://au.reachout.com
If you or someone you know is struggling, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, feel free to book an appointment with one of our friendly doctors by booking online or contacting us by phone on 8269 6000.
BeyondBlue 2018, What is depression [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression. [Accessed 27 March 2018]
Reynolds, J, Griffiths, K, Christensen, H 2011, ‘Anxiety and Depression’, Aust Fam Physician, vol. 40, no. 6, pp 382-6
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