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Depression and Depressive Disorders

About Depression and Depressive Disorders

Sadness is a normal human emotion. But, if it happens too often, the wrong times or becomes severe, it can become a problem and have a destructive effect your quality of life. When low mood and sadness becomes a problem we often describe it as a 'disorder' .


We know that around 1 in 20 (6%) adults experience significant levels of depression every year. We know depression can occur during periods of major change and loss in our lives.


The good news is there are effective treatments for depression, and people can successfully learn to manage their symptoms and recover from depression and depressive disorders.

We believe it is essential that people learn to recognise their own symptoms of depression, and to learn about depression. Psychological treatments for depression, like the courses we develop, aim to teach people about depression and their symptoms. They also teach people proven skills for managing the symptoms and reducing depression and its impacts on our lives.

What are the types of depression and depressive disorder?

There are two main types of depression or depressive disorder: 

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) - People with MDD have persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness, and a loss of interest in everyday things that are important for them. They often struggle with fatigue, tiredness and a lack of energy and motivation for even simple everyday tasks. MDD affects 5% of adults.

  • Dysthymia - People with dysthymia experience all of the same symptoms as people with MDD. However, the symptoms are usually milder and much longer lasting. To be diagnosed with dysthymia people need to experience symptoms for more than 2 years.

What are the main symptoms of depression?

People with depression often experience three main types of symptoms:

  • Physical Symptoms - Such as changes in sleep and appetite, low energy levels (tiredness or fatigue), reduced sexual interest, difficulties concentrating, and increase in physical health problems like pain.

  • Behavioural Symptoms - Such as becoming more irritable, avoiding people and places, avoiding things that used to be enjoyed or not getting the same pleasure from usual activities, walking or moving more slowly.

  • Thought Symptoms - such as excessive self-criticism and self-doubts, and excessively negative thoughts about the future, other people and the world in general.

What are the impacts of depression?

Depression has a destructive impact on people and their families and communities. Symptoms of depression can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.


Depression not only affects the way people feel about themselves and about their future, but also affects their ability to work or attend study and can impair their ability to maintain healthy and happy relationships. When severe, depression often restricts what people do and when they do it. And, because of their symptoms, many people with depression don’t seek help from health professionals. They should.

Chronic depression often leads to feeling helpless, hopeless and suicidal. If you are having such thoughts please urgently contact your GP, another health professional, or your local mental health team. Remember, depression can be treated.

What are the treatments for depression?

The good news is that depression and depressive disorders are treatable. We believe that the best treatments involve learning about your symptoms, learning how to control those symptoms, and gradually resuming your usual activities. Learning to beat depression takes courage, commitment and practice. But, many people successfully learn to overcome their symptoms.

For further information about treatment options and assistance you can:

  1. Talk to your General Practitioner

  2. See a Psychologist, Psychiatrist or another mental health professional

  3. Or, you can find out about our eCentreClinic Courses for treating depression, see here.

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