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Depression is a common treatable condition, affecting as many as one in 20 people in Ireland at any one time. Symptoms include low mood with loss of interest or pleasure. Often other feelings or physical symptoms will also be present. It is not just 'feeling blue' or 'down in the dumps'. It is a condition which affects your thoughts, feelings, physical health and behaviour.

People who suffer from depression have a number of symptoms nearly every day, all day for at least two weeks. These will include five or more of the following list and at least one of the first two. Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy;

  • Feeling sad, blue, or down in the dumps;
  • Feeling slowed down or restless and unable to sit still;
  • Feeling worthless or guilty;
  • Increase or decrease in appetite or weight;
  • Thoughts of death or suicide;
  • Problems concentrating, thinking, remembering or making decisions;
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much;
  • Loss of energy or feeling tired all of the time.

Other symptoms include:

  • Headaches;
  • Other aches or pains;
  • Digestive problems;
  • Sexual problems;
  • Feeling pessimistic or hopeless;
  • Being anxious or worried;

If you have had five or more of these symptoms, including at least one of the first two symptoms, you may have a depressive disorder. You may wish to discuss these symptoms with a general practitioner or counsellor.

It is important to know that depression is not a sign of weakness; it is not your fault. It is a condition which disrupts people's lives; depression is treatable.