Depression is more than just feeling sad or unhappy for a few days.
A lot people go through periods of feeling low, but when you’re depressed you feel constantly sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.
Sometimes people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They’re wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn’t a sign of weakness or something you can “snap out of” by “pulling yourself together”.
The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.
How to tell if you have depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and being hopeless, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very like crying. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety.
There can be physical symptoms too, such as sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, feeling constantly tired, and various aches and pains.
The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living.
Most people experience feelings of stress, unhappiness or anxiety during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.