What causes depression? It could be
anything and, for a lot of people, what’s hardest is feeling like it’s nothing.
Nothing’s happened. They can’t point to something that caused this feeling
that has just caused a load of other changes. And now they’re in a bit of a
cycle that they can’t quite break. And I think that’s one of the hardest
scenarios is when they can’t identify a cause. Some things that we know can can
cause depression are life changes, your parents splitting up, moving to a new
area, losing a job, or being diagnosed with a brain tumour. I tend to use the
phrase low mood rather than depression because I think it can be helpful for
some people to think: “Do you know what? This isn’t me – this is the depression.” And
for those people that’s that’s a useful word, but for others there’s quite a lot
of stigma attached to the word depression and it can make them feel as
though they’ve got another illness located within them, they are the holder
of another problem and that’s quite a negative way to feel. So I tend to use
the phrase low mood and just talk about low mood being around for people.
Sometimes it’s present and sometimes it’s shrunk right down and it’s small
enough to live alongside. To get a diagnosis of depression, you would need
to be experiencing a depressed mood or a significant loss of pleasure – and that’s
called anhedonia – where you’re not able to experience pleasure. In addition to
that, you would need to experience at least 4 other symptoms and they could
be able to experience pleasure. So just not having much energy, a change in
appetite – it might be that you’re eating lots more or that you’re just not hungry
at all. Changes to sleep – so not being able to sleep or sleeping too much.
Feelings of worthlessness. Feeling like you need to move around a lot more or
like your body just doesn’t want to move that much, as much as it used to.
Recurrent thoughts about death and dying is really common as a symptom, and
diminished concentration and thinking abilities. So people have to have 5
out of those 8 symptoms. They have have them for a period of two weeks or
more consistently without any let-up, and they have to be severe enough to
impact on that person’s functioning, either at work, or with friends or at
home, their ability to carry on their life as they have done before.