Talking about it Sharing a problem with someone else or with a group can give you support and aninsight into your own depression. Research shows that talking can help people recover from depression and cope better with stress . You may not feel comfortable about discussing your mental health and sharing your distress with others. If this is the case, writing about how you feel or expressing your emotions through poetry or art are other ways to help your mood. Here's a list of depression support groups and information about how to access them. Smoking, drugs and alcohol If you have depression it may be tempting to smoke or drink to make you feel better. Cigarettes and alcohol may seem to help at first, but they make things worse in the long run. Be extra cautious with cannabis .You might think it's harmless, but research has shown a strong link between cannabis use and mental illness, including depression. The evidence shows that if you smoke cannabis you: make your depression symptoms worse feel more tired and uninterested in things are more likely to have depression that relapses earlier and more frequently won't have as good a response to antidepressant medicines aremore likely to stop using antidepressant medicines are less likely to fully recover Your GP can give you advice and support if youdrink or smoketoo much or use drugs. You may also find the following pages useful: stop smoking getting help for drug addiction alcohol support Work and finances If your depression is caused by working too much or if it's affecting your ability to do your job, you may need time off to recover. However, there's evidence to suggest that taking prolonged time off work can make depression worse.There's also quite a bit of evidence to support that going back to work can help you recover from depression. If you're employed, you may be able to work shorter hours or work in a more flexible way, particularly if job pressures seem to trigger your symptoms. Under the Equality Act (2010) , all employers must make reasonable adjustments to make the employment of people with disabilities possible. This can include people who've been diagnosed with a mental illness. These include: Statutory sick pay Incapacity Benefit Disability Living Allowance Attendance Allowance Carer's Allowance Council Tax Benefit Housing Benefit Looking after someone with depression It's not just the person withdepression who'saffected by their illness. The peopleclose to them are also affected. If you're caring for someone with depression,your relationship with them and family life in general can become strained.You may feel at a loss as to what to do. Finding a support group and talking to others in a similar situation might help. If you're having relationship or marriage difficulties, it might help to contact a relationship counsellor who can talk things through with you and your partner. In this video called 'Help with your relationship: couples therapy' , a relationship counsellor explains what couples therapy involves and who it can help. Men are less likely to ask for help than women and arealso more likely toturn toalcohol or drugs when depressed. Coping with bereavement Losing someone close to you canbe a trigger for depression. When someone you love dies,the sense of loss can be so powerful thatyou feel it's impossible to recover. However, with time and the right help and support, it's possible to start living your life again. Find out more with these videos and articles allabout coping with bereavement . Depression and suicide The majority of suicide cases are linked with mental disorders, and most of them are triggered by severe depression. Warning signs that someone with depressionmay beconsidering suicide include: making final arrangements, such as giving away possessions, making a will or saying goodbye to friends talking about death or suicide t his may be a direct statement, such as "I wish I was dead", but often depressed people will talk about the subject indirectly, using phrases like "I think dead people must be happier than us" or "Wouldn't it be nice to go to sleep and never wake up" Self-harm on 116 123 (the helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year). You can also email email@example.com . Helping a suicidal friend or relative If you see any of the above warning signs in a friend or relative: get professional help for them let them know they aren't alone and you care about them offer support in finding other solutions to their problems If you feel there's an immediate danger, stay with the person or have someone else stay with them, and remove all available meansof committingsuicide, such as medication. Over-the-counter medication, such as painkillers, can be just as dangerous as prescription medication. Also, remove sharp objects and poisonous household chemicals such as bleach. .
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition.
Read about the symptoms of depression, which can be mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms can also be classed as psychological, physical and social.
Read about what causes depression. There's no single cause and many possible risk factors.
Find out how depression is diagnosed. Your GP will ask you lots of questions about your general health and how your feelings are affecting you mentally and physically.
Find out how depression is treated. Treatment depends on how severe your depression is, but usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medication.
Information and advice about coping with depression, including diet and exercise, talking therapy, dealing with bereavement and caring for someone who's depressed.
Read about psychotic depression, a severe form of depression where people experience the usual symptoms of depression, plus delusions and hallucinations.
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