Last month we looked at the cycle of feeling low and depressed and what we could do to help energise our mood. It is important then to also to look at clinical depression, which is very different.

There is no single cause for everyone suffering from depression. Genetics, bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and money worries, can all be the cause. Men are less likely to acknowledge depression, complaining instead of tiredness and fatigue; they may also have sleep problems and could lose interest in work and previous outside interests. Women are twice as likely to become depressed which may be due to hormonal changes such as PMS, post natal and the perimenopause.

The signs and symptoms of clinical depression although similar to feeling in a low mood are much more severe. Sufferers can experience persistent anxiety, feelings of sadness or emptiness. They may feel like crying a lot, want to sleep excessively or have an inability to get to sleep. Other signs are a loss of appetite and difficulty concentrating, feeling pessimistic, worthless and suicidal.

Trying to deal with depression on your own can make progress slow and difficult, sufferers are not alone no matter how much they think they are, there is help for everyone who reaches out for it. Admitting you need help is a good positive first step and will take away any isolation you may be feeling. Talking to someone and telling them things are a bit tough at the moment can, in itself, be cathartic. Try giving people who care the opportunity to offer their love and support by listening and encouraging you to find the right kind of professional help.

Doctors can offer evaluation and medication plus advice about group therapy or one to one therapy in your area. If you want to find help yourself privately read my blog about finding a therapist.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provides independent, evidence-based guidance for the NHS on the most effective ways to treat disease and ill health and recommends CBT for the treatment of depression and a whole range of anxiety disorders.

CBT can help make sense of problems that may be overwhelming you and help towards changing any negative self-critical thoughts and behaviour. A CBT therapist can help break the cycle of avoidance, which many people who suffer from depression have. CBT can be done individually or in group sessions and has a structured proactive approach.

Moodjuice is an online self-help website where you can learn more about depression and gain some skills to cope with it.

If you need more help feel free to get in touch.