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WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

"It (depression) is not a fleeting sadness but a pervasive and relentless sense of despair. A lack of interest in life accompanied by weight loss, loss of appetite, feelings of uselessness and sleep disturbance are some of the more common symptoms.

People with depression can't just 'snap-out of it'.
There can be an array of causes - it can be due to stresses in the home or at work, or it can just come out of the blue. Sometimes family history can be a major factor."
- Professor Scott Henderson
Director of NHMRC Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU

Symptoms of Depression
Understanding Depression
'Types' of Depression
Igniters of Depression
Related Conditions

Depression
If you think you may be suffering depression,
the first step is to consult your doctor.

While we give definitions and common symptoms here, there are also other illnesses which may produce similar symptoms.
Your Doctor is the best place to go if you have any concerns about your health.


 
An official definition of depression.....
Source: World Health Organisation's International Classification of Disease
  • Two weeks of abnormal depressed mood
  • Loss of interest and decreased energy
  • Loss of confidence
  • Excessive guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of death
  • Poor concentration
  • Agitation or retardation
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Change in appetite
    Mild depression includes the first two symptoms and at least one other.   Severe depression is the first two symptoms and at least five others.

Now for a list of symptoms which may be more familiar .....

People with depression experience many of the following for prolonged periods:

    sadness, lethargy, helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, difficulties with decisions, memory, concentration, loss of interest, energy, changes to sleep patterns - difficulty sleeping or staying awake, changes in weight - either significant loss or gain in weight, relationship problems with partners, friends, family, colleagues, isolation, thoughts of death, suicide, anxiousness, unusual fear or feeling panic.

The degrees of these experiences will vary greatly. If you have many of these symptoms for prolonged period you are very probably experiencing depression, and should see your doctor regarding a professional assessment and treatment.
Importantly, there are also other illnesses which may produce similar symptoms to depression, and that require a very different treatment.   Your doctor will be able to test for these.

If you only have a few of these symptoms and don't consider yourself to be depressed, treatment for depression, either traditional or alternate, may help. It is certainly worth speaking with a medical professional you are comfortable with.

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"Depression and Anxiety Screening Questionnaire"


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