Depression: the signs and treatment

depressed man by himself outdoors.jpeg

Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness. It is a mental health issue, which affects your behaviour, feelings, energy and thinking.

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. Others might not feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.

Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better. Understanding the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of depression is the first step to overcoming the problem.

Signs Of Depression:

Depression has eight main symptoms. The more symptoms you have (usually five or more), the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted — the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression. The symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling sad, anxious or bored

  • Low energy, feeling tired or fatigued

  • Under-sleeping or over-sleeping, waking frequently during the night

  • Poor concentration, thinking slowed down

  • Loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life

  • Low self-esteem and feelings of guilt

  • Aches and pains with no physical basis, e.g. chest, head or tummy pain  associated with anxiety or stress

  • Loss of interest in living, thinking about death, suicidal thoughts

Causes Of Depression:

Depression has a number of possible causes. For some people, it happens because of a traumatic life event such as bereavement, relationship breakdown, financial difficulties or bullying. For others, depression can be triggered by stress, lonliness, or health problems. In other situations, the person may have an inherent tendency towards depression because of family history. Such genetic factors can be key in the case of bipolar disorder. 


There are a number of treatment options available for depression. The best and most appropriate treatment option depends on the individual case, the cause of depression and the severity of symptoms. Generally, treatments usually come under two main headings: medication and talking therapies. In some cases, a combination of both might be the most appropriate treatment plan for that individual.

Here at Spectrum, we have Irelands largest network of Counselling and Psychology clinics. Our psychologists, can direct you to the most effective treatment plan to deal with your depression and any other mental health complication you may be suffering from.  

Julie Farrar