> Self Help Home Page > About Depression > Depression Self Help
- What is depression?
- What causes depression?
- Am I depressed?
- Page 2: Depression Self Help
What is depression?
Depression is very common and can happen to men and women of any age. Many successful and famous people battle with depression.
Some people still think that depression is 'trivial', that it's not a genuine health condition. They're wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms; it's not a sign of weakness or something you can just 'snap out of'. People with depression can't just 'pull themselves together'.
A person suffering from depression may feel anxiety, despair, even physical pain. They may not be able to sleep or concentrate on things. They may have no energy, feel guilty and find no pleasure in life. Without treatment, these feelings can stay with them for a long time.
People with depression may shut themselves away from others, which can make it harder for them to get help. Sometimes people with depression think about ending their life, because everything seems hopeless. If you have thoughts of ending your life, you should contact your GP or a health professional straight away.
The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery.
What causes depression?
We don't know for sure, but it's likely to be a combination of things. Our genes, our experiences and our outlook on life all play a part. Sometimes depression is triggered by things that happen to us, often a loss of some kind. Physical illnesses such as chronic pain and diabetes can lead to depression too.
Am I depressed?
To check if you might have depression, have a look at these two questions. They are from a questionnaire called the PHQ-2.
Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?
||Not at all
||More than half the days
||Nearly every day
|Little interest or pleasure in doing things
|Feeling down, depressed or hopeless
Add up your scores for the two questions. Your score will be between 0 and 6. If your score is 3 or more, you might have depression and you should complete our depression assessment, the PHQ-9
This won't give you a diagnosis - that's something only a qualified health professional can do - but it will give you a better idea about your symptoms. Don't worry about your results - we don't store them anywhere so they are confidential to you.