Waitematā DHB Isa Lei - Pacific Island Community Mental Health Services
Public Service, Mental Health
Depression is a mood disorder. Emotional states like sadness, ‘feeling blue’ or tearfulness are part of normal human experience. Depression is a common disorder and about 10-20 % of the population in New Zealand will suffer from depression during their lifetime.
It can be seen in many different forms, linked to many stages of life with similar symptoms like:
- Postnatal depression – where a new mother becomes seriously depressed in the first months following the baby's birth. It can occur any time during the baby’s first year.
- Depression in the elderly – often linked to health problems, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Physical illness – some symptoms of physical illness are difficult to distinguish from those of depression (e.g. fatigue related to congestive heart failure).
- Children and adolescents – do suffer from depression, but may talk of being angry or irritated, rather than being depressed.
Clinical Depression is known as Major Depression and is characterised by the presence for at least two weeks of symptoms such as:
- depressed mood
- diminished interest and pleasure in most activities
- change in appetite and weight (these can be increased or decreased)
- sleep disturbance
- bodily symptoms (headache, backache etc)
- poor concentration
- feelings of anxiousness, worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt,
- suicidal ideation
Once depression has been diagnosed by your GP/Psychiatrist, it can be effectively treated by:
- Psychological interventions e.g. counselling (various types) and psychotherapy (talking therapy which is of various types).
- Looking after physical wellbeing/ health