Am I depressed? Treating and identifying the signs of depression

Written by: Dr Edwin Ugoh
Published: | Updated: 26/04/2023
Edited by: Bronwen Griffiths

Depression is a mood disorder characterised by low mood for a persistent amount of time, having a significant effect on your everyday life. Depression, amongst other mental health conditions, is fairly common, and it is thought that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. However, treatments and therapies are available to help people struggling with depression to cope. Dr Edwin Ugoh, a leading psychiatrist, explains in detail what depression is and what can be done to beat it.

What is depression?

It is important to remember that depression is not the same as feeling sad. Feeling sad is a normal experience; it is a normal response to something that we might have lost or something that is troubling us and upsetting us. Clinical Depression, on the other hand, is a mental health disorder and it is characterised by:

  • Feeling low in mood
  • Not being able to enjoy things
  • Feeling easily fatigued
  • Difficulty with sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • A lack of concentration

In addition, if depression prolongs and persists, people start having difficulties with their relationships and productivity. In some cases, depression also presents with what we call cognitive symptoms. These include a sense of hopelessness, worthlessness and pessimism. People can also experience a sense of guilt and the world can look a lot bleaker in their eyes. Lastly, it is not uncommon for people with depression to experience thoughts of suicide and self-harm.

Top tips for beating depression

There are some gentle strategies that are quite helpful for depression.

These include:

  • Having a good diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Establishing a good sleep pattern
  • Having regular social contact
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Managing a healthy work-life balance

There are two specific treatment approaches for depression:

  1. The first is by using medication to target two particular chemicals in the brain: norepinephrine and serotonin. Based on your particular set of symptoms, a good clinical assessment will be able to tell you which is the most helpful medication.
  2. The second approach is by use of therapy. The therapy model used will be based on your experience and your symptoms. For example, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which helps to challenge negative thoughts, cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), which helps with relationships, and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), which helps with traumatic memories which are still causing the patient difficulties.


If you are experiencing any changes in mood, or traits described here, make an appointment with an expert to seek advice or treatment.

By Dr Edwin Ugoh

Dr Edwin Ugoh is a top consultant psychiatrist based in Essex and London. He has specialist experience in the assessment and management of a variety of mental health disorders including clinical depression, anxiety, ADHDbipolar disorder, alcohol and drug addictions and dual diagnosis (co-existing mental health and addiction).

Dr Ugoh graduated in 1993 from the University of Lagos, Nigeria before moving to England. He then carried out further psychiatry training in London and Hertfordshire and later became a specialist in general adult and substance misuse psychiatry. He has an MSc from University of Hertfordshire in 2010.

He has worked as a senior doctor across both the private and public sector and since 2018, he has been working as a consultant in general adult and addiction psychiatry in Essex Partnership University Partnership Foundation NHS Trust. He provides clinical leadership for substance misuse teams in West and South Essex. Dr Ugoh is currently a consultant with visiting privileges to the Priory Chelmsford. Therefore, he has access to a well-resourced and established pool of clinicians. He provides treatment and care for both self-funded patients and those with medical insurance.

Dr Ugoh offers a recovery-focused approach. He strongly believes in a collaborative approach to his treatments, ensuring his patients are fully involved in their treatment plans and recovery.

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