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  • Anne-Marie

D is for Depression

Depression is a general term covering a number of mood disorders that can result in persistent feelings of sadness, guilt and/or hopelessness. There are many different types of depression.

Depression is very common, affecting 1 in 10 people at some point in their lives.


Major Depression

This is classic clinical depression with very severe symptoms that last for periods of longer than two weeks. Without treatment these episodes may last between 6 months to 18 months and may recur from 4-6 times over a lifetime. Each episode can be triggered by a less important event as the person becomes increasingly vulnerable.

Psychotic Depression

This is a major depressive disorder with psychosis, which is hallucinations (where there is a distortion of perception with a overwhelming sense of reality) and/or delusions (beliefs not changed by reason or evidence).

Adjustment Disorder

This is depression related to a specific event that triggers an emotional response but the symptoms significantly out-last what might be considered a normal recovery or grieving period.


This is a less extreme version of depression, with fewer symptoms in less extreme forms but can last for years at a time. It can occur alongside major depressive disorder.

Bipolar Disorder (also known as Manic Depression)

A person with this illness has mood swings that swing from extreme depression to feelings of mania (heightened energy, elation, irratibility, racing thoughts, poor decision making). Decisions made during a manic phase may have long term implications which become apparent once the manic episode has passed.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

This is depression related to the absence of sunlight and its incidence rises in relation to the distance from the equator. It is thought to be related to low levels of melatonin, a neurotransmitter stimulated by exposure to sunlight. It is most likely to occur in the months of December, January and February.

Postpartum Depression

This affects new mothers, usually within the first few months of giving birth. It is related to several factors including changes in hormone levels, not enough social support and biological predisposition. Women with a history of other types of depression, especially bipolar, are at increased risk.

Can Massage Help?

Massage is beneficial to sufferers of depression and combined with talking therapies and GP intervention can be a positive therapy to undertake. Massage has a positive influence on mood, anxiety levels and the ability to deal with stress.

Help and Support

Please don't suffer alone. If you are affected by depression please seek help from your GP who will be able to talk through options available to you and offer support.

Mind have written a very comprehensive article that may be useful and also visit the MIND website

For local support please also see B&NES Talking Therapies

(Reference: A Massage Therapists Guide to Pathology 5th Edition - Ruth Werner)

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