Depression affects 1 in 10 adults at some point in their life. Taking the first step towards getting help can feel extremely difficult, especially when faced with the common perception that depression is not a genuine illness or is trivial. It is treatable and seeking help early can make a huge difference to sufferers

Dr Elin Davies (MBBS FRCA MRCPsych)

Dr Elin Davies (MBBS FRCA MRCPsych)

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There are a range of types of depression and it is important to get the right diagnosis.

Major Depressive Disorder

Sufferers may find it incredibly hard to even get out of bed or will cry for no apparent reason. Periods of major depression can last for a few weeks or even several years.

Depression and Anxiety

Those who suffer with anxiety feel so emotionally drained and hopeless about how they will manage in the future that they become depressed. Vice versa, people with depression can become afraid of the future and how they will cope – which in turn leads anxiety.

Anxiety and depression, although very common, can be difficult to treat because there are two sets of symptoms.

Depression and old age

The most common worries for those who are growing elderly, or those who care for them, is the loss of cognitive function associated with the various types of dementia.

The diagnosis and treatment of mood symptoms in later stage dementia sufferers is a huge challenge. Depression often goes unrecognised and family members tend to report much greater levels of depression in their relatives than do clinicians and other carers.

There are suitable tests that can be given to those with quite severe dementia to judge whether they are depressed and if you fear that a relative is suffering from unrecognised depression, you should seek input from one of our specialist old age psychiatrist.

Other types of depression include seasonal affective disorder, post-natal depression and bipolar affective disorder.