Depression is among one of the most common mental health conditions and is characterised by a prolonged period of low mood (usually for at least two weeks). It is currently believed to affect around one in four people in the UK, however, there are a variety of forms (postnatal depression, clinical depression, psychotic depression) and symptoms can vary in severity significantly.

What are the symptoms?

Depression can affect people in many different ways and can range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness to feeling suicidal. These symptoms can persist for weeks, months, and even years and can include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling tearful
  • Feeling guilty
  • Being irritable and intolerant of others
  • Having a lack of motivation
  • Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Anxiety
  • Having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself

In some cases, physical symptoms may also present themselves, such as:

  • Feeling constantly tired
  • Sleeping badly
  • Having no appetite
  • Low libido
  • Aches and pains

Cause and treatment

Depression is often triggered by life-changing events such as bereavement, losing a job, or the birth of a child – but this is not always the case. Evidence shows that people with a family history of Depression are more likely to experience it themselves. However, a person can also become depressed for no obvious reason.

Current treatments for Depression involve a combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medicines. Mild cases of Depression may be improved over time without much structured treatment: lifestyle changes and self-help strategies can often be effective.

In other cases, talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), may also be beneficial. In cases of moderate to severe Depression, a combination of these measures alongside the use of anti-depressants may be required.

Medical Cannabis and Depression

In some cases, medical cannabis can be considered when first-line therapies have not achieved adequate success in the improvement of symptoms or quality of life. There is some evidence to suggest that depression may be more common in people with suppressed Endocannabinoid levels, implicating a role of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in the aetiology of Depression.

Our specialist physicians are experienced in assessing individual cases and helping to determine whether medical cannabis could be an effective option.

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