Prima – 01 November 2014 – Winter blues or something more serious?

Imagine feeling hopeless, worthless, guilty or even that the world would be better off without you. That’s depression. Now imagine everyone thinking you’re just in a bad mood and can snap out of it. that’s the day-to-day reality for many people who suffer from it.

Exactly what takes sufferers into this state is unknown, but it’s thought to be linked to alterations in levels of chemicals that send signals around the brain. while it can just appear out of the blue, it often starts with a trigger, such as bereavement or a period of stress at home or work.

So what does it take for a diagnosis of depression? According to Dr James Kustow, Consultant Psychiatrist at Nightingale Hospital, there are three symptoms that must be present to be diagnosed. “You have to have a low mood most of the time for at least two weeks, but you must also have the feeling of anhedonia (a lack of pleasure or enjoyment of life) as well as low energy and tiredness. You may also experience changes in sleep patterns or appetite, weight loss, feelings of guilt or hopelessness and even suicidal thoughts. The number of symptoms you experience along the ‘Big Three’ and how serious they are, determines whether you’re classed as having mild, moderate or severe depression.

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