When depressed or feeling low, you may feel unable to reach out for support or communication may have broken down with family members. You may feel isolated and alone and perhaps stigmatized about how you feel. Counselling is non-judgemental and encourages you to talk through your feelings and experiences (with or without medication) and it is known to impact depression.
There is no single cause of depression. It is often an interaction of genetic factors, body chemistry and early life experiences. It can be triggered by distressing life events such as a relationship breakdown, bereavement or trauma. It can result from prolonged episodes of stress, or physical illnesses such as glandular fever. Hormonal changes such as childbirth, menopause or the over-production of cortisol, alcohol or drug use contributes to the onset of depression.
Depression spans the spectrum of negative states from feeling low to severe or clinical depression and can affect all age groups. A family history of depression is thought to make someone vulnerable to depression and particularly affects people with low self-esteem, little confidence and persistent negative thoughts who are often overwhelmed by stress.
If you are suffering from mild depression you may feel low, sad or fed up for a while. Everything seems harder work and less rewarding. You may feel you are not enjoying life. Gradually, however, these feelings will lift.
If you are suffering from severe depression you are likely to feel very down and unable to cope with normal activities. Severe depression is longer lasting. Sometimes you may feel so hopeless that you think of suicide. If you are severely depressed it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.
Medical research has shown that chemical changes take place in the brain when someone is depressed. But it’s not clear whether these changes are a response to depression, or a cause. Taking action to overcome depression seems to correct the balance of chemicals in the brain.