What is Depression?

Depression is a term that is often wrongly used in everyday language to describe when someone is feeling sad or little down. In clinical terms Depression is a severe and persistent lowering of mood, lasting weeks rather than days, that significantly affects a person’s day to day life. Depression can be suffered by anyone and at any stage of their life. It can be just a singular episode or it can happen repeatedly at intervals, over the course of someone’s lifetime. Depression may also be the result of a physical or accompanying mental health illness, such as: Bipolar disorder (Manic Depression). When someone is suffering from depression they may experience a combination of psychological and physical symptoms including;


Psychological (Emotional) Symptoms:

Physical Symptoms:

  • Low Mood (Continually feeling sad)
  • Lack of concentration
  • Low Self Esteem
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling helpless
  • Tearful
  • Guilt
  • Indecision
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Irritable or intolerant
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances (lack of sleep or significant changes in pattern)
  • Reduced libido (interest in the sex)
  • Changes in appetite (usually reduced)
  • Constipation
  • Alteration to menstrual cycle

Impact on the Family

These symptoms, in isolation, are common in everyday life and cause us little problem. When they are sufficiently severe and last for an extended period of time they become problematic and may affect an individual and their family - significantly. Signs of this are:

  • Avoidance of work
  • Family Difficulties
  • Staying indoors
  • Neglect of personal appearance
  • Difficulties at home (adequately maintaining it, paying bills)
  • Avoidance of family and friends
  • Little or no interest in hobbies or interest

There are many causes of depression and often it is a combination of factors that lead to a person suffering from the illness. These include;

  • Stressful Life Events - these may be recent or unresolved historical events, which can include: relationship breakdown, bereavement, job loss, financial difficulty and historical physical or sexual abuse and emotional neglect. At times, some of these factors combine to overwhelm a person and become a catalyst for depression
  • Giving Birth (postnatal) - Hormonal changes in connection with the huge physical and emotional demands of looking after a baby make some woman vulnerable to this specific condition.
  • Physical Illness and pain - Serious illnesses such as Cancer and heart disease present a higher risk of a person developing depression. Head injury is also a significant cause of this illness. Severe and persistent pain is also an often overlooked cause of depression as it can completely limit an individual’s lifestyle.
  • Mental Illness - Depression often accompanies other significant Mental Health Illnesses, including Bipolar Disorder, OCD, and Anxiety.
  • Drugs and Alcohol - Alcohol has long been recognised as a depressant and excessive amounts, especially when already low in mood, can cause the situation to worsen. Street drugs are particularly concerning because they artificially induce high or low mood states and it is impossible to know what they contain, therefore their side-effects cannot be guaranteed.
  • Personality/Family History - Some people are said to be naturally predisposed to depression either as a result of their behaviour (shy, introverted) or due to a family history of the illness.

How can we help?

Treatment of depression is often a combination of medication (if necessary) and other therapeutic interventions. The Practice MK offers an extensive range Counselling and Psychotherapy, often called Talking Therapies to help individuals and their families to make sense of this very difficult period in their life. Therapy sessions are delivered by trained and experienced practitioners trained who will provide the opportunity to discuss issues in a safe, understanding and supportive environment.

Individuals and therapists may wish to discuss current or past issue affecting them, feelings they have around these issues and how these issues affect them and those around them. During sessions, individuals and therapists will look at coping strategies and methods to ensure positive outcomes for all concerned.

All our counsellors and therapists are accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)



If you or someone you know may have depression, drop us an email or telephone call and we can talk to you more about the services we provide.  We also work with several leading medical insurance companies and you will often find your policy covers counselling.

Pru Health