This Morning: Dr Chris reveals symptoms of his depression
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Dr Liam Cavanagh’s behaviour becomes increasingly erratic and aggressive as he tries to deal with an overwhelming sense of loss. Tragic events, such a bereavement, can trigger an episode of depression – do you know the signs? The informative charity, Rethink Mental Illness, described depression as a “long-lasting low mood disorder”. “It affects your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure or take interest in activities,” the charity added.
Affecting one in 10 people, Dr Cavanagh’s portrayal of the health condition would fall under the “reactive depression” category.
This is when an episode of depression can be attributed to a particular stressful event, such as a divorce, redundancy, or money troubles.
Depressive symptoms – experienced for most of the day, every day for over two weeks – warrant an appointment with your doctor.
The symptoms of depression can include:
- Low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry
- Having less energy to do certain things
- Losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy
- Loss of concentration
- Becoming tired more easily
- Disturbed sleep and losing your appetite
- Feeling less good about yourself (loss of self-confidence)
- Feeling guilty or worthless.
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In addition, alongside a low mood, you may:
- Feel less pleasure from things
- Feel more agitated
- Lose interest in sex
- Find your thoughts and movements slow down
- Have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
“Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression,” Rethink Mental Illness pointed out.
You may also be checked over for a low thyroid, which can cause symptoms of depression.
“Having low levels of vitamin B12 may also be linked to experiencing symptoms of depression,” the charity added.
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What else can contribute to feelings of low mood and depression?
Research has shown that “not exercising, being under or overweight, and having fewer social relationships can increase the risk of experiencing depressive symptoms”.
Moreover, the use of drugs – legal and illegal – can affect a person’s mental health.
Furthermore, the regular misuse of alcohol, or drinking on regular occasions, can increase a person’s risk of depressive symptoms.
“Depression can come with other mental or physical health conditions, such as diabetes or cancer,” Rethink Mental Health added.
After a person is diagnosed with depression by their GP, there are a few treatment plans to help lift a person out of a low mood.
Talking therapies could be an option, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
“The type of therapy you are offered will depend on the cause of your symptoms and their severity,” the charity made clear.
Other talking therapies could include:
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Problem-solving therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Behaviour activation
- Group therapy
- Relationship counselling
- Bereavement counselling
- Mindfulness based therapy
Some people may be offered antidepressants, which can have side effects.
As with any type of medication, getting the right dosage will be done via trial and error.
If you are on antidepressants, you must never stop taking the medication abruptly as this can cause problems.
Should you want to adjust your medication, always speak to your doctor first.
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