About Depression

  • At any given time, between 5 and 10% of the population are depressed enough to need help
  • Between 8 and 20% of people are likely to experience depression during their lifetime
  • The most common time for depression to start is between the ages of 20 and 40
  • Women have higher rates of depression than men
  • Rates of depression are similar throughout all races and ethnic groups

(Source - World Health Organisation)

The Accelerating Spread of Depression

In 1990 depression was the fourth most common cause of suffering and disability (time off from work) for both men and women throughout the world. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will become the second most common cause of suffering and disability for men and the single most common cause of suffering and disability, for women by 2020.

Why is Depression Becoming More Common?

There are competing theories. One much vaunted theory is that depression is genetically transmitted. The difficulty for the genetic theory is that the number of depressed people is increasing faster than people can reproduce. Studies have shown a tenfold increase in depression among people born since 1945 compared to people born between 1905 and 1914. If depression were transmitted only through genes it would be spreading more slowly.

The most plausible general explanation is that throughout the world people expect more from life and experience more frustration in their lives. This is true for both rich and poor countries. Meanwhile life becomes more complicated, demanding, frustrating, constrained and stressful for both rich and poor. At a personal level, it would be hard to find a depressed person who does not feel convinced that they are failing in regard to some set of standards, or expectations, and doesn’t feel upset and obliged to strive to live up to them, or hopeless because they no longer have enough energy to strive to live up to them.

Am I depressed? - Symptoms of Depression in adults

A person who responds to a setback in their life with

  • self-doubt
  • lowered spirits
  • difficulty sleeping
  • decreased appetite
  • decreased sex drive
  • difficulty concentrating

for at least 14 days qualifies for diagnosis of a major depression. (World Health Organisation)

Symptoms of Depression in children can include

  • lack of motivation
  • poor concentration
  • difficulties at school
  • putting himself/herself down
  • tiredness
  • apathy /boredom
  • eating problems
  • anxiety
  • complaining of vaguely defined discomfort or pains

Symptoms of Depression in adolescents can include

  • suicidal thoughts
  • hopelessness
  • social isolation
  • excessive drug/alcohol use
  • excessive sexual preoccupation
  • overeating
  • oversleeping
  • rage

Symptoms of Depression in old people can include

  • memory problems
  • confusion
  • social withdrawal
  • loss of appetite
  • inability to sleep
  • irritability
  • sometimes delusions
  • intense sadness (sometimes unacknowledged or suffered privately)

Goldberg Depression Test

Ivan Goldberg - a New York psychiatrist with a special interest in depression devised this test for depression and its severity www2.netdoctor.co.uk/testyourself/goldberg.asp

Any mental health professional is obliged to say ‘If you suspect you are depressed go and see your doctor.’ As depression is widespread you can bet that your doctor is seeing plenty of people who feel depressed. Your doctor is likely to prescribe a course of anti-depressants and may recommend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Brief Therapy.

Does Therapy Work With Depression?

In 1995 the American Psychological Association published a review of hundreds of studies of what is effective in the treatment of depression. In general, psychotherapy is as at least as successful as medication in treating depression and some forms of psychotherapy are much more successful in treating depression than others. According to the AMA research the most useful therapies with a depressed person are the ‘short-term therapies’, in particular Interpersonal Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Behaviour Therapies (such as Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). However, research also shows that it is not just a question of the right school or kind of therapy it is also a question of finding a therapist who relates therapy to your particular way of life and circumstances, who can build a good working relationship with you and can sustain and build their optimism about a good outcome.

Have you personal experience of depression and recovery?


Are you experienced in helping depressed people cope better and recover?


Phone Harry Norman on 0117 968 2417 to ask any questions or make an appointment

Harry Norman Partnerships Medical Centre 17 Stoke Hill Stoke Bishop Bristol BS9 2JN