Feeling down when something upsetting or frustrating happens is normal - and happens to everyone at some point in their lives. You could be going through any number of things such as ending a relationship, losing a job or growing distant from a friend. However usually those feelings will fade away over time and life will go back to normal. If you're suffering from depression, the feelings don't go away - they remain, even when things improve.

What is depression?

As defined by Wikipedia, "Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being."

Depression and the feelings you have can be connected to many things:

  • Your behaviour
  • The thoughts you are thinking
  • Your past
  • Your current environment
  • Stress and anxiety

Depression will be a little different for every person. No matter the kind of depression you're going through though, you will be helped by better self-care. Physical activity is especially effective for mild depression - exercise, sports and activities.

For many people, depression can lead to thoughts that life is not worth going on, or that your friends and family would be better off without you. If you're feeling this way you should get help straight away: talk to a doctor or call a helpline.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Generally, a person suffering from depression will feel sad and miserable for most of the time with a persistently low mood. They often have a lack of energy and lack interest in everyday activities and the world around them. Every case is slightly different and each person is affected in a unique way

How common is depression?

Studies have estimated that depression affects one in 15 adults (6.7%) in a given year, and one in six (16.6%) in their lifetime. Depression most commonly appears from teenage years to mid-20s but can affect people of any age.

Some experts have estimated that, by the year 2020, major depression will be second only to heart disease in terms of the leading causes of disability in the world.

Unfortunately, most people with clinical depression never seek treatment. Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen, potentially lasting for years and causing untold suffering, and possibly suicide.