What exactly is depression?

Depression might occur just once in your life time, but many people experience multiple periods of depression throughout their lives.


According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are at least 350 million people living with depression worldwide and, sadly, more than one million commit suicide each year. Unfortunately for every person that takes their life, a further 20 go through failed suicide attempts.


Did you know that depression often starts at a young age and affects women more than men? And many live with the effects of depression day in day out, month after month, fighting hard to cover up the symptoms and pretending to enjoy life – just like everyone around them seems to.


Back in 2012 the World Health Organization released a film called “I had a black dog, his name was depression” and to date it has had more than four million views. Considered by many to be one of the best films ever to explain what depression is, it raised awareness for this debilitating illness and illustrated how people live in denial with this “big black dog” called depression.

If you missed this poignant campaign, you can see the film here:


How can I tell if I am depressed?


It is estimated that in some countries just 10% of those suffering from depression seek professional help.


If you are trying to figure out whether or not you could be suffering from depression, here are ten symptoms to help you decide:


  1. Persistent feelings of sadness and a numbing of emotions.
  2. Reactions that are driven by irritability or anger.
  3. Lost interest in sex or activities that you used to enjoy.
  4. Sleep problems – either sleeping too much or not enough.
  1. A dip of energy levels which makes the smallest task seem impossible.
  2. Dietary issues – maybe a desire to eat less coupled with food cravings and, sometimes, weight gain.
  3. Anxiety and excessive worrying, which converts into restlessness or pacing.
  4. Memory loss, as well as difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
  5. Suicidal or dark thoughts.
  6. Physical problems that cannot be explained, such as back pain.

At Red Umbrella, we want to help you find the right treatment for depression. A bridge between the sufferer and the solution, our advice is friendly, independent and, most important of all, completely focused on getting you the care that you need.

What are the various types of depression?


From minor effects to major life-threatening symptoms, depression comes in various forms ranging from mild to severe. Here is the lowdown on the range of depression disorders.


Major depression

Major depression is also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. It will affect all areas of your life – work, home and love – and comes in the following forms: melancholia, psychotic depression, antenatal and postnatal depression.


  • Melancholia: Identifiable because it manifests itself in physical symptoms, often sufferers are known to move more slowly and lose interest and pleasure in almost everything.
  • Psychotic depression: Hallucinations, delusions and paranoia (perhaps a belief that you are being watched or followed) are major tell-tale signs of psychotic depression.
  • Antenatal and postnatal depression: It is both during pregnancy and after giving birth that women are most likely to experience depression. While around 80% of women experience “baby blues” this is different to depression, which lasts longer and affects around 10% of women during pregnancy and 15% after childbirth.
  • Bipolar disorder: This disorder, also known as manic depression, has largely been brought into the public consciousness through the plight of celebrities facing their own personal battles with the illness. Stephen Fry, Russell Brand, Kurt Cobain have all suffered from bipolar disorder, often as part of a complex dual diagnosis, which, in Cobain’s case, had fatal consequences.
  • Losing touch with reality, hallucinations and delusions can be symptoms, as are periods of mania, which can consist of feeling fantastic and full of energy, as well as frustrated and irritable. A normal mood will settle for the period in between. Bipolar disorder affects around 2% of the population and can be wrongly identified as substance abuse or schizophrenia.


Cyclothymic disorder

Sufferers of cyclothymic disorder will experience mild to moderate levels of mania, followed by a short period of feeling “normal” and then feelings of depression. Although a similar pattern to bipolar disorder it is less severe and does not happen as often.


Dysthymic disorder

Someone with dysthymic disorder will experience less severe symptoms than those associated with major depression and may feel as though they have been depressed all their life. It will be diagnosed if symptoms have been experienced for more than two years and if the person has not had a manic episode.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Winter blues is another way to describe this seasonal mood disorder. This type of depression can start to set in as the days get shorter and usually arrives at around the same time each year. Often diagnosed if the same feelings are experienced for more than two years running, major symptoms are a lack of energy, sleeping too much, overeating and weight gain.

We can advise you on the most effective treatment options for your particular form of depression.


Contact us now on +44 (0)300 002 0061, or through our live chat facility.