I’m out of my mind, think you can wait… I’m way off the line, think you can wait…

Depression is a serious illness, or mental disorder, characterised by an all-encompassing low mood, accompanied by low self-esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities. It is wholly different to the common experience of feeling miserable, unhappy or fed up for a short period of time. When a person is depressed, they may feel periods of extreme sadness, that can affect daily living, lasting for weeks or even months.

Depression significantly affects a person’s family and personal relationships, school or work life, sleeping and eating habits, and health in general. The impact it has on functional well-being has been equated to chronic medical conditions such as diabetes. Insomnia is also common among the depressed, with typical pattern being that of a person waking up very early and not being able to get back to sleep. The person may also have difficulty in getting to sleep initially. Hypersomnia, or oversleeping, affects ~15% of the depressed population too.

A depressed person may report symptoms of depression such as fatigue, headaches or digestive problems. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), physical complaints are the most common in developing countries. Appetite also decreases, with resulting weight loss, although the opposite can occasionally occur. Others may also notice that the affected individuals behaviour is either irritable or lethargic.

Depression is fairly common, with around 1 in 10 experiencing depression at some point in life. Exact numbers are difficult to gather, as people often do not seek help or are formally diagnosed with the condition. Women are more likely to suffer depression than men, and 1 in 4 women will seek help for it, whereas only 1 in 10 men are likely to do the same. Men are far more likely to commit suicide than women, perhaps as a result of them being more reluctant than women to seek help. It could also be due to other factors, such as substance misuse, unemployment or social isolation.

Depression can affect people of any age, including children. Studies have shown that around 5% of children aged between 5-16 have suffered from depression. Those with a family history of depression are also more likely to suffer themselves. Depression is still seen as a slightly taboo subject, with many people believing that it is not a real illness, or that it is a sign of weakness or admission of failure. This is simply not true, as depression is a real illness with real effects. With the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery from this illness. It is important to seek help from your GP or healthcare practitioner if you think you may be depressed.

If you would like more information on Osteopathy, how to deal with the physical symptoms of depression, or are simply unsure whether osteopathy can help with any problems you may have, it may be worthwhile coming to see us at Atlas Osteopathy (with clinics in East Finchley and Moorgate, as well as the option of home visits), where we can explain your problems to you, why they occur and whether or not you are suitable for osteopathic treatment. Often this can be done via email or on the phone.