Depression is a diagnosis which may be given to someone who experiences a persistent low mood, sadness, panic and worry, which is significantly affecting the way they feel and act. 

In making this diagnosis, doctors will ask about changes that are unusual for you and look for possible symptoms. These can include:

  • feeling extreme sadness
  • feeling tired or having less energy
  • losing motivation and interest
  • having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • low self-esteem
  • having difficulty with sleep (too much or too little)
  • change in appetite (more or less hungry than usual)
  • feeling of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • thoughts of self-harm

Common types of depression

Post-natal depression: women who have had a baby may experience depression. Symptoms are similar to other types of depression.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): someone may experience depression at the same time of year, usually winter. Symptoms are similar to other types of depression, but can often involve more sleep.
Psychotic depression: some people may experience depression and psychosis. This may include delusions (believing things that most other people find unusual) and/or hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that other people can’t.)
Anxiety and depression: it is not uncommon for people who have been diagnosed with depression to also experience some form of anxiety.

These types of experiences can have a significant impact on daily life, including relationships, work, physical health and sense of self. 

Treatment and support will be different for each person. Mental health professionals should help you find treatments and supports that work best for you. This may be a combination of medication, rehabilitation and professional, family, community and peer support.

Medical treatment for depression may involve medication, such as anti-depressants. Psychosocial treatments may include education about the diagnosis, support groups or therapy.

A diagnosis will mean different things to different people. It is only one way of understanding your experiences and what might support your recovery. It can help to do your own research and talk to a range of professionals, trusted family and friends, or to people who have had similar experiences.

Regardless of diagnosis, people do recover and live well.

If you need to talk, call our Helpline

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For more information, please contact Wellways on 1300 111 400.