Alcohol Abuse
Antidepressants
Anxiety
Bereavement
Dealing with Anger
Dealing with Stress
Depression
Divorce and Break-up
Eating Disorders
Gambling Addiction
Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour and OCD
Relationship Problems
Romantic or Sexual Obsession
Post Traumatic Stress

Depression

Depression can refer to a mood or to a diagnosis. As a mood it can mean a passing flat, low or gloomy feeling, or it can refer to recurring episodes of low mood and a pronounced sense of hopelessness, and helplessness. Feeling depressed is often accompanied by sleeplessness (or too much sleeping), repressed or overt anger, loss of energy, excessive crying and feelings of deep unhappiness, personal inadequacy and anxiety.

As a diagnosis, it can refer to one of several mood disorders:

• Major Depressive Disorder
• Dysthymic Disorder
• Depressive Disorder
• Bipolar Disorder

Furthermore, depressive (and manic) symptoms can be observed in relation to other underlying causes such as bereavement, substance-induced mood disorder, dementia, or schizophrenia.

The presenting symptoms of depression can vary a lot too. One person called 'depressed' may feel deeply unhappy and suffer from periods of crying, thoughts about suicide, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. Another person with an underlying depression feels mainly okay, although a bit flat, but suffers from sudden panic attacks and some inexplicable anxiety symptoms. A third person could feel so bad and obsessively guilty that she regularly escapes by drinking too much, and a fourth can feel haunted by phobias, compulsions and obsessions.

As people’s experience of depression can vary hugely, the diagnosis and label of depression is not without problems. A label ‘closes the file’ instead of opening up an individual history so that the root of his or her depression can be explored and understood. Whatever its cause, depression is almost always a sign of some deeper seated problems and difficulties. No GP will be able to tell you what it is that has gone wrong. Although antidepressant medication might bring some temporary relief whilst others try to self-medicate with alcohol, marijuana, cocaine or other mood altering substances, none of these provide a long-term solution. The point is that depression, when it has become an ongoing issue in a person's life, requires some sort of counselling or psychotherapy to explore the underlying causes so that real change becomes possible.