Page written and resources collated by Emily Wheeler, Wellbeing Practitioner
Everyone has ups and downs. Sometimes you might feel a bit low, for lots of different reasons. People may say that they are feeling depressed when they are feeling down, but this does not always mean that they have depression. Depression is a long lasting low mood disorder. It affects your ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure or take interest in activities. Doctors might describe depression as 'mild', 'moderate' or 'severe'. Your doctor may offer you different treatments depending on how they describe it.
Depression can affect people of any age, including children. It is one of the most common mental illnesses. The number of people who have depression may be higher than this because not everyone with depression goes to their GP. Your doctor might say that you are going through a 'depressive episode'. This is the formal name that doctors give depression when they make a diagnosis. They may say that you are going through a 'mild', 'moderate' or 'severe' episode. If you have had repeated episodes of depression, your doctor might say that you have recurrent depressive disorder. If your doctor thinks that your episode of depression was caused by particular stressful events in your life, they may say that it is reactive. For example, divorce, job or money worries. This is sometimes separated from an adjustment disorder, where you may struggle with some symptoms of depression because of adapting to a major change in your life.