Depression is a very common illness.
People feel down, depressed
They take less pleasure and interest
in doing normal things
find interesting and
pleasurable than they would normally.
It goes on for more than two weeks.
We all have bad days
when we feel a bit low.
If that goes on for a day or two,
that's unfortunate, but it's life.
But if you
have those feelings
and they go on for more than two weeks,
that's probably depression.
We tend to divide depression up
into mild, moderate and severe.
Mild depression is very common.
People can have mild depression
with some self-help measures
can institute themselves
over a couple of weeks.
common in general practice
to see someone who's depressed.
If you give them simple measures to
after themselves, they will recover.
When they come back in a couple
of weeks, they're much better.
may recover with those measures
or may need
some help with either
medication or talking treatment
who is severely depressed
certainly will need both
medication and talking treatment
to help them get better and stay better.
I think, first of all,
self-help is very important
to any sort of depression,
mild, moderate or severe.
You can help yourself
are common things to do
that are very sensible.
smoking too much, don't smoke
or try and reduce your smoking.
alcohol as a drug
because it's a very bad drug
help your mood at all.
You want to reduce your alcohol intake
down to or
the recommended maximums
of about 21
units a week for a man
or about 14 units a week for a woman.
use street drugs
to try and help yourself feel better.
People can smoke cannabis
thinking it will help them feel better.
In fact, it tends
to make depression worse.
It isn't a good idea at all.
Eating plenty of fresh fruit
to make you feel better
and exercising is absolutely vital.
Exercise is a good way of feeling
about yourself and it gets you out.
practice, about seven
out of ten people with depression
come and see their GP
with physical symptoms.
They might have headaches,
backache, tummy aches.
They may have alterations
in their appetite,
be losing weight or gaining weight.
They may have difficulty sleeping
and see that as a physical symptom
Other physical symptoms
people can have can be loss
normal physical appetites that
we all have, like for food or for sex.
People can lose those completely
and lose a
lot of weight
when they're depressed.
To be worried about whether
you might be depressed or not,
on how you're doing at work
your friendships or not.
Are you ringing your friends
or are you waiting for them to ring you?
Are you taking an interest
in your family?
When did you last do something
special with your kids?
Often, people who
are depressed will do
none of those things. That's very sad.
If someone hasn't responded to those
self-help measures after a few weeks,
mildly depressed or if
they've got moderate depression,
need to have a discussion
with your GP about active treatment.
There are two sorts of treatment.
You can either
or talking treatment.
Traditionally, medication was
the main treatment that was available.
in the GP's surgery.
I just have to write a prescription
can start the treatment right away.
Talking treatment used not
to be available so widely.
the Improving Access
to Psychological Therapies programme
being rolled out
across the country,
more talking therapy,
especially cognitive behaviour therapy,
quite rapidly in more
and more places in the country.
Sometimes, people can feel absolutely
desperate when they're depressed.
They can have thoughts
of harming themselves.
Thoughts of self-harm are very
when you're depressed.
Occasionally, people make plans or
taking actions to harm themselves,
perhaps kill themselves even.
It's a good
to plan with your doctor
if you ever get those feelings.
You could write down on a piece of paper
numbers of the five people
you're going to telephone
get really bad
and you feel desperate.
Usually, three of them will be out.
You need five numbers to make sure
that you catch somebody who's in.
You could also put down on the list
your GP's phone number
the phone number
of the Samaritans
so that if
what you're going to do
before you get there.