How to deal with depression

It’s normal to feel low sometimes, but if depression is interfering with your life, help is available. Antidepressants and talking therapies are some of the treatments that might help.

Depression illustration

It’s common for physical health problems to take their toll on your mental health. That’s especially true for long-term conditions, including heart disease. It’s estimated that people living with heart and circulatory disease are two or three times more likely to experience depression.

It’s estimated that people living with heart and circulatory disease are two or three times more likely to experience depression.

Dr Jim Bolton, Chair of Liaison Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, says we all feel low sometimes, but this is a normal reaction to difficult experiences and we usually bounce back. Depression is different. “It is an illness that goes on longer, often when the stresses that cause it have improved,” he says.

Symptoms of depression include losing interest in life, finding it harder to enjoy things, wanting to cut yourself off, loss of appetite, poor sleep or a hopeless feeling.

As well as getting treatment, Dr Bolton recommends avoiding alcohol, eating healthily and exercising regularly. “It’s often helpful to talk to someone we trust about how we’re feeling too,” he says. “It’s hard to feel hopeful when you’re feeling low, but try and remember you will recover. And if you seek help and receive treatment, that will happen more quickly.”

Getting through dark times: 4 readers' stories

  • Read how counselling helped Trevor after his heart transplant.
  • Learn how exercise made Rob feel alive again after health problems.
  • Find out how mindfulness helped improve Sarah's quality of life.
  • Hear Gary's story of finding support through a self-help group.

MedicationWoman taking a tablet with water

Antidepressants are a type of medication that can be used to treat depression. There are many types of antidepressants, but they all work by increasing or prolonging the activity of particular brain chemicals that are involved in regulating your mood. 

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