Most people experience the blues, and can feel sad, stressed or anxious during difficult times.
Stressful events and experiences can leave us in feeling low or cause depression. These may include relationship issues, trauma, stress and pain.
Changes to hormones, during puberty, after childbirth and during the menopause, can also have an effect mental health. It is also possible to feel down without any obvious reason.
Difference between low mood and depression?
A general low mood can include:
- lack of energy
- low self esteem
However, a low mood will tend to improve after a short time. Making some small changes in your life, such as resolving a difficult situation or talking about your problems and getting more sleep, can improve your mood.
A low mood that doesn’t go away can be a sign of depression. Symptoms of depression can include the following:
- continuous low mood
- feeling hopeless and helpless
low self esteem
no motivation or interest
finding it difficult to make decisions
not getting any enjoyment out of life
having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
If symptoms do not go away or are too much for you to cope with or are stopping you from carrying on with your normal life you may need to make some changes and get some extra support.
Contact your GP or call NHS 111 who will be able to discuss your symptoms with you and suggest appropriate support.
- Seek help immediately
- If you start to feel like your life isn’t worth living, get help straight away. Either see your GP or call NHS 111. You can also contact helplines such as Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 for confidential, non judgemental emotional support.
- See RAMH First Crisis if you live in Renfrewshire
- If you have had depression or anxiety in the past, get help immediately. You’re more likely to have an episode of depression if you’ve had one before.
- What type of help is available?
- Self help
- Whether you have depression or just find yourself feeling down for a while it could be worth trying some self help techniques. However if your GP has diagnosed depressio, it is important that you also continue with your prescribed treatment.
- Life changes such good sleep pattern and following a healthy diet, reducing your alcohol intake and getting regular exercise can all help you feel healthier and more relaxed. This can increase your feeling of control and your ability to cope with your life.
- Self help techniques can include activities such as meditation, breathing exercises and learning ways to think about problems differently. Tools such as self help books and online counselling can be very effective.
- Depression and anxiety have a variety of support treatment options and your GP will discuss all of the available treatment options with you, including antidepressants and talking therapies.
- Talking therapies
- There are many types of talking therapies available. Talk to your GP about the types of talking therapy on offer, and let them know if you prefer a particular one.
- See Cognitive behavioural therapy
Antidepressants are a type of medication commonly used to treat depression and other conditions. There are several types available, including SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). If your GP prescribes you antidepressants, they should explain the what type they have chosen and why it is best for you.
Read more about medication