What is depression?

Depression is a mental health condition, defined as having a persistently low mood for at least two weeks. It affects around one in four people in the UK and comes in a variety of different forms, including postnatal depression, clinical depression, and psychotic depression.


What are the symptoms of depression?

The symptoms of depression are complex and can vary from person to person. The main symptoms include feeling sad, feeling hopeless, and losing interest in things you used to enjoy. The symptoms can persist for weeks, months, and even years.

On top of these, there is also a range of psychological symptoms:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling tearful
  • Guilty feelings
  • Being irritable and intolerant of others
  • Lack of motivation
  • Indecisiveness
  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself

Physical symptoms may also present themselves, including:

  • Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • Changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of libido
  • Changes to the menstrual cycle
  • Disturbed sleep, such as insomnia or waking up very early in the morning

Depression can also affect your social life in the following ways:

  • Avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
  • Neglecting your hobbies and interests
  • Having difficulties in your home, work or family life

Depression can ebb and wane and is often affected by external factors. Doctors will often grade depression according to its severity, ranging from mild depression (has some impact on your daily life), to moderate (has a significant impact on your daily life) to severe (makes it almost impossible to get through daily life). All of these types of depression are equally valid and have different options for treatment. 


What causes depression?

Some forms of depression can be affected by environmental factors. For example, feelings of grief are very similar to depression and can lead to developing depression in some cases. Postnatal depression affects new mothers, fathers, or partners after they have a baby

In addition, depression can be a symptom of other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and so on. There are so many potential causes for depression, it’s hard to narrow it down. It largely depends on the person and will often be identified during the course of treatment.


What treatment options are available for depression?

There are a variety of treatment options for depression, often depending largely on the severity of the condition. For mild depression, the following self-help treatments are advised:

  • Exercise
  • Talking through feelings with a trusted friend or therapist
  • Mental health apps, such as mindfulness aids or guided meditation

If these don’t work, it’s advised to visit a GP or local therapist to access professional help. The first step would be to engage with talking therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling.

In moderate to severe cases of depression, a person may be given a prescription for antidepressants. These treat the symptoms of depression and come in a range of different forms. A doctor will be able to advise on which is the best type of antidepressant for the individual.

A prescription will often be given in conjunction with continued therapy. This could take the form of combination therapy, using the combined skills of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists for severe cases.


How can medical cannabis help with depression?

When traditional treatment methods like those above don’t help with the symptoms of depression, medical cannabis can have a positive influence. 

A study from the United States showed that depression was most prevalent in people with a low amount of endocannabinoids, or cannabis-like substances, in their system. This suggests that, for some, increasing the amount of endocannabinoids through medical cannabis can help lift people’s moods and alleviate the symptoms of depression.

At The Medical Cannabis Clinics, we offer treatment plans and private care for patients through online video link consultations with our expert specialist doctors, who can guide you through treatment options available from the clinic.

Appointments start from just £70. Book a private consultation today and one of our expert specialist doctors will be able to guide you through your treatment options.

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