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This Morning: Dr Chris reveals symptoms of his depression

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Alastair Campbell has had a colourful working life, having been Tony Blair’s spokesman and campaign director and forging a successful journalistic career. He is currently the editor at large of The New European and chief interviewer for GQ magazine. His way with words means he is well placed to articulate one of the most difficult topics – depression.

Late last year, Alastair Campbell spoke to ITV’s Lorraine about his ongoing battle with depression and how lockdown posed a unique problem.

He explained: “I have had a very up and down lockdown, to be honest.

“It started well, zoloft and strattera then I had a bit of a dip, then I had what I can only define as a manic phase probably for a few weeks I was a little bit out of control, then I had a massive plunge.”

He added: “As you say, an awful lot of people have been affected by the pandemic.”

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Alastair has written a book about his depression journey called Living Better: How I Learnt to Survive Depression.

His book covers not just his own mental health battles, but his cousin Lacky’s, who took his own life in 2000.

How do I know if I have depression?

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.

“Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days,” explains the NHS.

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It is worth nothing that there are many signs and symptoms of depression, but everyone’s experience will vary.

According to mental health charity Mind, if you experience an episode of severe depression, you might also experience some psychotic symptoms.

These can include:

  • Delusions, such as paranoia
  • Hallucinations, such as hearing voices.

“If you experience psychotic symptoms as part of depression, they’re likely to be linked to your depressed thoughts and feelings,” explains Mind.

“For example, you might become convinced that you’ve committed an unspeakable crime.”

How to treat depression

Like the symptoms, the treatments vary based on the severity of the depression one is experiencing.

According to the NHS, treatment for depression usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines.

If you have mild to moderate depression, for example, that is not improving, or moderate depression, you may find a talking therapy helpful.

“There are different types of talking therapies for depression, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling,” explains the NHS.

It adds: “A GP can refer you for talking treatment, or you can refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.”

If you’re having suicidal thoughts, it’s important to tell someone.

These free helplines are there to help when you’re feeling down or desperate.

You can reach the Samaritans on 116 123 or email [email protected]

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