Depression is one of the most common conditions in the UK, affecting one in five people at some stage in their life. The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2020 depression will be the biggest global health concern after chronic heart disease.

There is a significant relationship between OCD and depression with roughly three out of four people with OCD having concurrent co-morbid depression.

It is characterised by a persistent low mood which affects the ability to carry out effectively almost any everyday activity. It is more than just feeling 'down', and it cannot be cured by simply ‘pulling yourself together’.  It often leads to isolation –the sufferer may not feel able to go out, friends and family may find it hard to cope and subsequently do not stay in touch.

The symptoms of depression can include the following:

  • Low mood.
  • Lack of interest in and pleasure from usual activities and interests.
  • Poor attention and concentration.
  • Suicidal ideas and feelings.
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Extensive pessimism
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness.
  • Disturbed appetite, usually associated with weight loss or weight gain.
  • Disturbed sleep, often causing waking in the early hours of the morning and a feeling of being unrefreshed by sleep.

Depression is not something you can just snap out of.  It is caused by an imbalance of brain chemicals, along with other factors. Like any serious medical condition, depression needs to be treated and, as with OCD, CBT and medications are recognised to be the most appropriate forms of treatment.

You can help improve your mood, which should have a positive effect on depression, by ensuring that you get lots of daily sunlight, eat a healthy balanced diet and get regular, undisturbed sleep.

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