Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

Depression is a feeling of low mood that lasts for a prolonged period of time and affects everyday life. In its mildest form, depression doesn't stop you leading a normal life, but it can make it harder to undertake normal, mundane tasks. In its most severe, depression can make you feel suicidal and therefore be life-threatening. Sometimes depression could occur during or after pregnancy, and some will return each year around the same time. Some of the symptoms of depression include feeling down or restless. A person with depression may feel guilty, worthless and be self-critical. They may be feeling isolated and have low self-esteem. They may feel hopeless and in some cases they may self-harm.

Seasonal affective disorder or SAD is a form of depression that occurs in line with seasonal patterns. Symptoms will be strongest during the late autumn and the winter months when daylight hours are short. This will often improve during spring and summer months or even disappear altogether. Lack of serotonin in the brain is a possible cause. Symptoms of SAD can include a persistent low mood, a loss of pleasure or interest in normal, everyday activities. A person may be irritable or have the feeling of despair, guilt and worthlessness. In many cases, they may have little energy and feel sleepy during the day. They may sleep for longer than usual and find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. They may also crave carbohydrates and put weight on. For some people, these symptoms could be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities. A range of treatments are available for SAD. Talking to a GP is a good first step. They will be able to recommend the most suitable treatment program for you or at the very least signpost you to the correct organisation. These treatments may be lifestyle-related and include exercising regularly, getting as much natural light as possible and managing stress levels, light therapy, where a special lamp is used to simulate exposure to sunlight or talking therapies such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy. Other treatment may include medications such as antidepressants.

Postnatal depression can affect women within a few weeks and up to two years after having a baby. It can affect one in 10. It's more commonly diagnosed in mothers but can also affect fathers or partners. People may experience episodes of persistent low moods and often have difficulty bonding with the baby. It's quite common for women to feel a bit low, tearful or anxious after the birth of their baby. This is often called "the baby blues" and is considered to be normal. However, baby blues don't usually continue for more than two weeks after giving birth. If symptoms persist longer, then this is possible that postnatal depression is developing. It can start at any time in the first year after giving birth. A person coping with postnatal depression will experience low self-esteem, a lack of energy and other symptoms of depression. They may also have difficulty bonding with their baby and perhaps experience frightening thoughts around harming the infant. In a lot of cases, women may not realize that they have postnatal depression because it can develop gradually over a period of time. Help can be provided by health visitors or GPs and by calling the NHS 111 telephone line. There are also associations who provide advice and guidance; NCT new parent support at nct.org.uk and the Association of Post-Natal Illness whose web address is apni.org.

There are many organizations who provide advice and guidance to someone who is experiencing depression. These include the Samaritans who are for confidential and non-judgemental support. Their contact information is available through samaritans.org. Rethink Mental Illness provides support to individuals experiencing mental ill health and those who are supporting someone with mental ill health. They also help healthcare professionals, employers and staff and more important information about them is available at rethink.org. When depression is a result of bereavement, a good source of information can be found by contacting the charity Cruse at cruse.org.uk.