Depression is a common mental health problem. Up to one in four females and one in six males will suffer from depression at some time.
It is a serious disorder that can range in intensity from mild to severe.
Depression may be diagnosed if a person has experienced a depressed mood, nearly every day, for at least 2 weeks, and/or is feeling a loss of interest or pleasure in most activities, however the onset of major depression may be preceded by weeks or months of low mood. Depression is generally described as feelings of constant sadness and hopelessness, and this may be expressed by frequent tearfulness and broodiness. Some people also have strong and excessive feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Depression may be accompanied by irritability, low frustration tolerance and increased anxiety. Somatic symptoms include physical aches and pains (headaches and muscle or joint aches), physical/emotional feelings of agitation, restlessness, slowness, lethargy and fatigue. Depression may significantly affect social, family and intimate relationships as sufferers may withdraw from social interactions and activities. Other common symptoms are insomnia, diminished capacity to concentrate, and changes in appetite leading to weight gain or weight loss. At its most severe, depression may lead to thoughts of suicide, and suicide attempts.