Understanding Depression

Many of the psychological symptoms of depression would have an impact on Georgina’s daily life and have an effect on her carrying out her life roles if she does suffer from another bout of depression. One of the main symptoms is a low mood, this would impact greatly on Georgina as it would effect her interaction with many of the people in her life such as her husband and child. Another common symptom is feeling of low self esteem. This would impact greatly upon Georgina as she is finding it difficult to cope after having her firs t child and wants to return to work but suffering from low self esteem may mean that she is unable to do this.

Another symptom is reduced motivation/reduced enjoyment from activities that the sufferer used to get pleasure from. This would have an impact on Georgina as she used to enjoy doing hill walking and other outdoors activities and now finds these things difficult due to her back pain but she may feel that she no longer wants to even try to do these things anymore. As well as psychological symptoms, depression also has some physical symptoms which would impact upon Georgina carrying out her activities of daily living.

Some physical symptoms that sufferers of depression may experience include a change in appetite (often a decrease), lack of energy, disturbed sleeping patterns and unexplained pains. All of these things would have an effect on Georgina fulfilling her life roles. As a new mother she will already be finding her sleep disrupted by her baby and this could be made worse. A decrease in appetite and a lack of energy would also have an effect on Georgina since as a new mother she will need a lot of energy to look after her baby.

Socially, if Georgina was to suffer from another bout of depression she would be greatly affected. Sufferers from depression often have no motivation and do not get enjoyment out of activities that they previously took pleasure from. In a journal article discussing leisure activities it is stated that ‘A sense of keeping busy in the absence of structured occupation or work and planned time was also valued and the participants felt that leisure went some way towards meeting these needs’ (Craik and Pieris, 2006).

However due to depression Georgina may feel like she does not want to take part in any leisure activities. This may mean that she would no longer want to do her hill walking any longer but also that she may not want to do any social activities any more. Georgina may also feel that she suffers from some discrimination as she suffers from a mental illness, we are told by Rogers and Pilgrim (2005) of the ‘negative, narrow and potentially misleading’ stereotypes that people with mental illnesses are faced with, therefore she may be embarrassed about returning to work or socialising.

The problems that Georgina suffers from could be looked at in terms of the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF). The ICF is a framework used by the World Health Organisation; it is described by the WHO website as a ‘framework for describing and measuring health and disability’ (WHO 2008). The ICF can be used to describe different factors of illnesses and shows that disability applies to more than just a select few; it recognises that people with illnesses and disabilities can also lead normal lives.

The ICF is also important in Georgina’s case as it ‘takes into account the social aspects of disability and does not see disability only as a ‘medical’ or ‘biological’ dysfunction’ (WHO 2008). In conclusion, there are many biological, psychological and social factors in relation to Georgina’s herniated disc in her back which would cause her problems. The most important of these is the subsequent back pain from this which would prevent her from carrying out many of the day to day tasks that she used to do and enjoy. Also important is Georgina’s history of depression and the fact that she is beginning to feel ill again.

If she were to suffer from depression again there would again be biological, psychological and social factors relating to this which would impact upon her carrying out her activities of daily living.


Ainsworth, P. 2000 Understanding Depression. [online book] University Press of Mississippi. Available from http://site. ebrary. com/lib/qmuc/Doc? id=10157908&ppg=19 Accessed December 14th 2008 Criak, C and Pieris, Y. 2006. Without Leisure … ‘It wouldn’t be Much of a Life’: the Meaning of Leisure for People with Mental Health Problems. British Journal of Occupational Therapy 69 (5) May 2006 pp. 209-216.

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