Get IBD info delivered to your inbox
Sign up to our mailing list and receive regular articles and tips about IBD.
Depression is more than simplyÂ feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.
We all go through spells of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.
SomeÂ people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong.Â Depression is a realÂ illness with real symptoms, and it's not a sign of weakness or something you canÂ "snap out of"Â by "pulling yourself together".
The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery.
Depression affects people in differentÂ ways and can cause a wide varietyÂ of symptoms.
They range from lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness, toÂ losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depressionÂ also have symptoms of anxiety.
ThereÂ can beÂ physical symptoms too, such asÂ feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly,Â havingÂ noÂ appetiteÂ or sex drive, andÂ complaining ofÂ variousÂ aches and pains.
The severity of the symptoms can vary. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit (read about low mood), while at its most severeÂ depression can make you feel suicidal andÂ that life is no longer worth living.
For a more detailed list, read more about the symptoms ofÂ depression.Â
Most people experience feelings of stress, sadness or anxietyÂ during difficult times. A low moodÂ may improve after a short time, rather than being a sign of depression. Read more information aboutÂ low mood and depression.
If you've been feeling low for more than a few days, take this short test to find out if you're depressed.
Sometimes thereÂ is a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, losing your job or even having a baby, can bring it on.Â
People with a family history of depression are also more likely to experienceÂ it themselves.
But you can also becomeÂ depressed for no obvious reason.
Find out more about the causes ofÂ depression.
Depression is quite common and affects aboutÂ one inÂ 10 of usÂ at some point. It affects men and women, young and old.
Depression canÂ alsoÂ strikeÂ children. Studies have shown that about 4% of children agedÂ five to 16 in the UK are anxious or depressed.
Treatment forÂ depression involves either medication or talking treatments, or usually a combination of the two. The kind of treatment that your doctor recommendsÂ will beÂ based on the type ofÂ depression you have.
Read more about the treatment ofÂ depression.
Many people withÂ depression benefitÂ by making lifestyleÂ changes such asÂ getting more exercise, cutting down onÂ alcohol, stopping smokingÂ and eating more healthily.Â
Self-help measures such as reading a self-help book or joining a support group are also worthwhile.
Find out more about how self-help and improving your lifestyle can help you beatÂ depression.
Read how stopping smoking can improve your mood.
You can read other people's experience ofÂ depressionÂ in our comments section below.
Why not sign up to our mailing list and receive regular articles and tips about IBD to your inbox?