'Depression” is a term commonly applied to a wide variety of emotional states. It may range from feeling down for a few hours on a given day to severe clinical depression that may last for several months. It is important to distinguish between mild, everyday “blues” that we all experience from time to time, and clinical depression.

Clinical depression is more persistent and unremitting, with symptoms lasting at least two weeks and sometimes up to several months. Clinical depression, which must be diagnosed by a GP or mental health professional, it is a serious condition that produces flare-ups known as major depressive episodes.

Symptoms Of A Major Depressive Episode Are:

  • Sadness and or irritability
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities
  • Loss of appetite-or increase in appetite
  • Sleep disturbances—either insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Agitation or slowing in behaviour
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Problems with thinking or concentration
  • Persistent thoughts of death or suicide

If you are experiencing significant depression, counselling and medications can help you feel better, so don’t try to get through it alone. Talk with your GP or other health care professional.

Aware provide a range of supports for people affected by depression, including support groups, online and email support, a support phone line and life skills programmes. Further information can be found on their website:

Family Carers Ireland also provide a free counselling service – further information can be found at

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