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UK-NOTPR-1010 | April 2022




Understanding Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that is associated with symptoms such as continuous low mood, loss of pleasure, loss of energy, difficulty in concentrating and suicidal thoughts.1,2

Depression overview

Depression is associated with a wide range of emotional, cognitive, and physical symptoms3 and impacts on a person’s daily life. People suffering from depression may no longer have control over their moods or feelings, and they tend to feel low almost all the time. Consequently, they may have trouble holding onto their job, keeping up with their studies, and/or maintaining their family life and social contacts.2

Depression can affect anyone, and there’s no single cause but various factors can increase a person’s risk of developing the disorder. Stressful experiences such as illness, unemployment or bereavement may trigger the condition in some people.4

Facts about Depression

Depression is one of Lundbeck’s focus disease areas. It is a serious medical condition that is associated with a range of emotional, cognitive and physical symptoms.3

Cognitive problems can include difficulties with memory and concentration, difficulty with planning and organisation and reduced thinking speed.5


The symptoms of depression can be complex and vary widely between individuals and may persist for weeks or even months.4 Depression manifests as a combination of three symptom groups: emotional, cognitive and physical.3


Emotional symptoms - The emotional symptoms such as sadness, feelings of hopelessness and anxiety are perhaps those traditionally most associated with depression.3


Physical symptoms - Physical symptoms of depression are wide ranging and can involve problems with sleep, appetite and weight changes, sexual dysfunction and headaches.3


Cognitive symptoms - Cognitive symptoms can affect decision-making, concentration and the ability to think.3 Research has also noted that cognitive symptoms, such as trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, or indecisiveness appear up to 94% of the time (n=267) during depressive episodes.5 Even in patients thought to be in remission, cognitive symptoms were present for an average of 39−44% of the time (n=267).5


At its most serious, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and self-harm.2

~280 million

people worldwide are estimated to live with depression.6


of people suffering with depression worldwide are adults.6

Symptoms of depression may include:2,7


  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Continuous low mood or sadness
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Changes in sleep
  • No motivation or interest in things 
  • Problems concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself 

Epidemiology and burden

Worldwide, depression is a common illness, with an estimated 3.8% of the population affected, including 5% among adults and 5.7% among adults older than 60 years of age.6


The World Health Organisation now lists depression as a leading cause of disability worldwide.6

Diagnosis and care

Depression can be diagnosed by a healthcare professional, who will ask about your symptoms and how they are affecting you and your general health.8 Once a diagnosis is made, a combination of different therapies, including medication, counselling, social support, exercise and self-help techniques, is usually recommended.9

Charity Links

The work that UK charities undertake helps to provide patients with access to support, information and education.

  1. NHS Overview Guide: Clinical depression. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/ [Accessed March 2022]
  2. NHS Symptoms Guide: Clinical depression. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/symptoms/ [Accessed March 2022]
  3. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013
  4. NHS Guide: Causes of Clinical depression. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/causes/ [Accessed March 2022]
  5. Conradi HJ et al. Psychol Med. 2011;41(6):1165-1174
  6. WHO Depression Factsheet. Available at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression [Accessed March 2022]
  7. Hammar A and Ardal G. Front Hum Neurosci. 2009;3:26
  8. NHS Guide: Diagnosis of depression. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/diagnosis/ [Accessed March 2022]
  9. NHS Guide: Treatment of depression. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/treatment/ [Accessed March 2022]
Xue Bing, Living with Depression

A pressure in my heart

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UK-NOTPR-1548 | July 2023