The word depression is commonly used to describe many feelings, such as being sad, ‘blue’, miserable or upset. However, a person can feel all these emotions without suffering from clinical depression. The difference lies in the length and severity of the feelings. Clinical depression is a mental, emotional and physical state that is intense, long-lasting and seriously affects daily life. It is a pervasive despair, not just a mood that someone can snap out of readily.

Depression is not something to be ashamed of or guilty about, nor is it a character flaw or a sign of weakness. Most importantly, depression is not permanent. The chances for complete recovery are excellent. A number of psychological and drug treatments are effective, affordable and readily available.

What are the signs to look for

Depressed people can experience a couple or many of the following symptoms:

  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Sleeping problems
  • Worrying and negative thinking
  • Feeling helpless and hopeless
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Loss of interest and energy
  • Poor concentration
  • Change in appetite
  • Loss of confidence
  • Feeling guilty and worthless
  • Suicidal thoughts


For some types of depression, particularly severe cases, a combination of medication and psychological treatment may be helpful in the initial stages of treatment. In the long term, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is found to be as effective as anti-depression medication. If you think you are suffering from depression, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.