How common is depression and what are the symptoms?

Written by: Dr Oscar D’Agnone
Edited by: Laura Burgess

It is important to understand that there are both mental and physical symptoms of depression. Some of the symptoms can be present but in order to make a diagnosis, these should cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

We’ve asked one of our highly-experienced psychiatrists Dr Oscar D’Agnone from The OAD Clinic, London to explain what the symptoms of depression are exactly, whether it is becoming more common these days and when you should seek professional help.

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What are the symptoms of depression?

Patients with depression typically feel low mood during the day, mostly every day. They also show diminished interest in most things that they used to enjoy and they can’t feel pleasure (known as anhedonia).

In some cases, there is a loss of appetite and consequent weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain if anxiety is present. There is usually a slow thinking process and also a reduce on physical activity and movement is also present.

Sometimes this is related to the general feeling of fatigue or loss of energy. This lack of energy usually translates as diminished concentration, indecisiveness, and sleepiness.

When depression worsens, a feeling of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt is present.

In more severe cases, recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation without a specific plan can emerge. As depression progresses, suicidal thoughts become more concrete and patients can make specific suicidal plans. Paradoxically, when patients reach this point, they are calmed. This is because they have a plan to finish once and for all with their suffering. This is a critical state when patients are more vulnerable and need to be admitted to a mental health facility to keep them safe.

At what point should someone seek professional help?

Patients should seek professional help when these symptoms interfere with their daily life and cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.

Are we becoming more anxious and depressed than ever before?

It is important to point out that anxiety and depression are a part of normal life. There are always reasons to feel depression or anxiety but it doesn’t mean that you have to be depressed or anxious all the time.

When depression or anxiety interfere with your daily life and there is no apparent reason that you can link to those feelings, you should be looking for professional advice.

I wouldn’t say that these days people are ‘more’ depressed than before, but people are more aware of depression and anxiety.

The general population is more educated these days and that allows them to be more aware of their own symptoms and more considerate with other people suffering from anxiety or depression.

How common are cases of depression at The OAD Clinic?

These days we see many young people under a lot of work-related stress, presenting with general anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic attacks. This is because of the big difference existing between the extremely competitive conditions in which they work and their expectations.

Initially, they feel anxious but after a while, if the situation or the way they feel about it doesn’t change, desperation gives way to depression and a feeling of “acceptance of the unavoidable and low self-esteem settles in,” and depression follows. 

You are not alone! If you are worried that you are living with symptoms of depression and would like expert help, do not hesitate to book an appointment with Dr D’Agnone via his Top Doctor’s profile, today.

By Dr Oscar D’Agnone

Dr Oscar D'Agnone MD MRCPsych is one of the most senior and respected psychiatrists and medical addiction specialists in the UK specialising in anxiety disorders, addictions, alcohol-related problems, trauma (PTSD), depression and ADHD. He is currently CEO and Medical Director of  Seagrave Healthcare/The OAD Clinic, a leading private institution providing mental health and addiction treatment in central London for over 15 years.

Until November 2018 Dr D'Agnone has been Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences at the University of Manchester, member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the International Society of Addiction Medicine.

With over 35 years of experience as a consultant psychiatrist treating patients with mental health and addiction problems, Dr D'Agnone provides complex psycho-neuropharmacological interventions to manage or resolve challenging situations for his patients and their families suffering the consequences of mental health problems. Throughout his career he has held many managerial positions, leading large teams of doctors, nurses and psychologists through various treatment settings across Europe and America. As a result, he has obtained a rich clinical experience that has allowed him to develop and offer a problem-focused pragmatic approach to the variety of pharmacological and psychosocial interventions for his patients.

Dr D'Agnone has taught in many European and American universities and institutions and published numerous medical papers and books on addictions and has published widely in the professional medical press. In addition, he often presents at noteable national and international scientific conferences and is the senior adviser for various governments and pharmaceuticals on policy strategy and the research and development of new drugs.

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