Depression is defined by having a persistently low mood and/or loss of pleasure in normal activities for at least two weeks.
Each year, 5 in 100 adults experience a period of depression.
The two key symptoms of depression are persistent sadness or low mood and marked loss of pleasure in activities that a person usually enjoys.
Other typical symptoms include:
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness and helplessness;
- Thoughts of self-harm and/or suicide;
- Impaired concentration;
- Difficulty making decisions;
- Insomnia (poor sleep);
- Poor appetite.
Depression is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The following have been shown to increase the risk of developing depression:
- Family history of depression and other psychiatric disorders;
- Female Sex;
- Childhood adversity;
- Chronic illness;
- Head injury;
- Environmental stressors including trauma (physical or emotional), unemployment and low socioeconomic status.
Depression is diagnosed from speaking to a patient to understand their symptoms in full, however other conditions may mimic depression and it is important to rule these out with further tests if suspected.
Questionnaires are a commonly used tool to assess the severity of depression. They are also useful in monitoring response to treatment.
Simple approaches including exercise, improved sleep hygiene, and self-help can improve symptoms and reduce the impact on quality of life.
Most patients will also benefit from an element of psychological therapy, including counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, and interpersonal therapy.
Medical management primarily involves the use of anti-depressants (e.g. duloxetine, fluoxetine, amitriptyline).
Medicinal cannabis can be considered when first line therapies have not achieved adequate benefit in symptoms or quality of life.
Arrange a Referral
At Sapphire London we operate on a doctor to doctor referral basis. We accept referrals from GP’s and consultants. This is to ensure that the patient’s condition has been fully assessed by a qualified physician and all other treatment options have been attempted.
For doctors to refer a patient to us, please click here to fill and securely submit a referral form.