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What is Depression?

The most common of all mental health problems is depression, with approximately one in three people having a period in their lives when they are depressed.

Geraldine Lee is a nurse, life coach and counsellor, Geraldine has many decades of experience providing depression advice and anxiety advice for those suffering with mental health problem and advising their friends and family how to support them.

As many as 5% of people going to see their GP have severe depression, a further 5% will have symptoms that are less severe, but still cause problems, and at least another 10% will be emotionally distressed. Depression is the fourth most common cause of disability across the world, and the No1 psychological disorder in the Western World. For some women depression occurs during their pregnancy, and even more often, after giving birth. This is postnatal depression, a distressing illness to have during what should be a very happy period.

When you are depressed the main thing you may notice is that you have a continual low mood, however, there are many other psychological symptoms you may experience, and sometimes physical symptoms that make you often go to see your GP. In addition you may have social symptoms, and anxiety levels may be high also, making you worry a great deal.

For those who have not experienced depression, nor lived with someone who has, it is hard to comprehend the overwhelming black depths into which you can be plunged, and its seriousness. There are on average 4,000 suicides in England each year, many of which are as a result of severe depression. Studies in the USA found it could be as high as 80% of deaths by suicide could be attributed to severe depression. It is a huge problem that continues to grow.

There are differing levels of depression which, fortunately, can be recognised as this affects your choice of treatment.

When depression is severe your GP may recommend antidepressants as a treatment. Also recommended are talking treatments such as cognitivebehavioural therapy (CBT), or other psychological therapies. In this instance the medication and talking treatment may be offered together as the combination seems to work better for people with the severe level of illness. If all other treatments fail to work Electro­convulsive Therapy (ECT) may be discussed as an option.

Where your depression is considered to be more moderate you may still be offered an antidepressant, or a talking therapy.

If you have a mild depression antidepressants are not usually recommended. There are ways to help yourself that have been recognised, for example exercise, or joining a self­help group. Some people find self­ help reading useful, or if you like computers there is now computerised CBT. Alternatively you may find it helpful to talk to someone about your feelings and how to manage them. This may be with a psychotherapist, or a life coach/mentor. Or you may want to consider alternative and complementary therapies.

Once you have had depression the risk of it happening again rises. We know that approximately 50% of people who have had it will have a recurrence during the following ten years.There are some preventive measures you can take to help reduce your risk of recurrence.

Depression is a treatable illness and is not a life sentence. Where this depression is linked to motherhood it can often be quickly and successfully treated. Nanny Dee can help support you through the emotional difficulties you face, and guide you to a better phase in your life.

You can speak to Geraldine direct for individual depression advice via her profile.


You can view the full list of Greatvine experts who can offer anxiety advice and support.

About the author

Geraldine Lee
Nurse/Therapist and Coach

As a Complementary Therapist and Registered Nurse l have over 30 years of experience helping men and women going through difficult times professionally, personally or emotionally.

Articles by Geraldine Lee
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Click here to read Anxiety; Signs, Symptoms and Advice
Click here to read Are you Listening?
Click here to read Depression: Signs and Symptoms
Click here to read Emotional Distress
Click here to read Mental Health, Helping Someone in Your Care