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Recognising depression

Feeling low in mood or down and having depression may seem similar, but are actually very different.

We've all experienced feeling low or down. Feelings of sadness, loneliness and low self-esteem are normal reactions to loss and life's struggles and usually come and go.

When these feelings become overwhelming, cause physical symptoms and don't go away, they can stop you from living your normal life. That's when it's time to consider getting treatment for depression.

Physical and behavioural symptoms of depression

  • changes in your weight or appetite
  • constipation
  • aches and pains with no physical cause
  • feeling tired and lacking energy
  • lack of sex drive
  • disturbed sleep
  • crying
  • self-harming
  • avoiding social situations
  • distancing yourself from others
  • neglecting hobbies and interests

Mental symptoms of depression

  • experiencing a sense of unreality
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling numb and empty
  • getting no pleasure out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried, restless or agitated
  • feeling irritable and impatient

What you can do to cope with depression

Have a routine

Try to get up at your normal time, stick to a daily routine and eat regular meals.


There's evidence that exercise can help improve your mood. Just a brisk 20-minute walk every day can help you feel better physically and emotionally.

Limit alcohol

Alcohol is often used as a way of blocking out emotions but can actually make your depression worse.

Choose a therapist near you
Emotional wellbeing therapies
  • Choose from face-to-face, self-guided and expert-guided courses
  • Complete online courses at your own pace
  • Access therapists where and when it suits with our video appointments app

0333 123 4106

Ask us about our emotional wellbeing options

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