Leaders and Executives are just as prone to depression as the rest of the population. In fact certain types of professional are MORE  likely to suffer depression, for instance, lawyers, physicians, dentists, etc.

When depression worsens it can go from a feeling of “the blues” to something that impairs performance, in the early stages, to a condition that completely precludes achievement of any kind in the more advanced stages.

In many cases prolonged periods of stress or anxiety can lead to depression.

How do you know if you are suffering depression?

Here is quick and simple test question:

Do you have long-term low spirits that you can’t seem to lift?

If your answer is Yes, you may wish to learn more about depression, before deciding if you need help.

Range of depression symptoms

Depression can range in intensity form “feeling blue” (that low feeling, for no apparent reason that you can identify, which most people experience occasionally) to being so low that almost all normal functioning is impaired or absent.

More detailed questions to assess if you may be experiencing depression.

Are you experiencing:

1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness?
2. A pessimistic view of life, which seems permanent and beyond your control?
3. Reduced or absence of interest in day-to-day life?
4. A lack of interest in things that used to give you joy?
5. Reduced or no ability to experience joy?
6. Substantial weight gain or loss?
7. Sleep patterns changed (inability to sleep, sleeping too much, disrupted sleep)?
8. Unstable moods?
9. Increased speed to anger?
10. Feelings of agitation?
11. Others as harder to tolerate?
12. A complete disinterest in others?
13. An inability to respond to those around you?
14. Reduced energy levels?
15. An ongoing sense of fatigue?
16. A feeling of heaviness?
17. Reduced levels of performance?
18. Things you could previously do easily now make you fatigued, take longer or you are unable to complete them?
19. Low self-esteem, or even self-hate?
20. Feelings of inadequacy, guilt or self-resentment?
21. Highly self-critical, or self-dismissive, or, can’t be bothered to even consider yourself?
22. Doing things that you know are harmful to you, (alcohol or drug abuse, dangerous behaviour) as if it doesn’t matter whether you live or die?
23. An inability to concentrate, make decisions or care about anything?
24. Memory problems?
25. Aches and pains that you don’t normally experience?

The more questions to which you answered Yes the more likely it is you are experiencing depression. Most leaders and executives recover from depression with the right help.


Each person is different, as such, it is unlikely that any one off-the-shelf treatment can work for every person’s depression. A skilled psychotherapist will find the way (usually several ways) to best help you overcome depression.

Extremes of Depression

In extreme cases thoughts of suicide can emerge, along with “final scenario behaviours” (saying goodbye to people, sorting out the estate, feeling a sense of relief once the decision has been made to end it…)

Most leaders and executives recover from depression, and, once feeling better can see how completely the depression controlled their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. When people recover they are often amazed at just how extreme the depression made them feel.

There are many successful approaches to overcoming depression, from cheery chats with friends and relatives, professional counselling, psychotherapy, to GP or psychiatrist prescribed medication.

Types of Depression

Depression can commonly be categorised as clinical or non clinical.

Clinical depression is more severe than non-clinical, and shows more of the above symptoms for a prolonged period.

Typically the more severe forms of depression are treated with medication AND one of the many forms of talking therapies.

Milder forms of depression respond well to non-drug therapies.

Low-level Recurrent Depression

Some people can experience slightly low periods that can last months or years, and then be fine for a while, only to return to a slightly depressed state.

Bi-polar or Manic Depression

Depression in some people is part of an alternating cycle with excessively high spirits (mania). This form of depression seems to respond best to mediation.

Post-natal Depression

Various psychological and hormonal factors can combine to cause severe depression in some women who have just had a baby. Most post-natal depressions pass, seemingly, as hormones return to normal balances.

Teenage Depression

Teens experience dramatic hormonal changes at the same time as social, intellectual and many other changes, which, collectively, can sometimes lead to depression.

Many teenagers experience periods of grumpiness or moodiness. That is so common as to be normal. It is when grumpiness descends in to depression that help may be needed.

Reactive Depression

We all suffer losses and set-backs, and can be left feeling low for a while. This form of depression is normal, and may even be a healthy reaction or adaptation to life’s ups and downs. It may be needed to adjust to the unwelcome change. Sometimes a normal reactive depression can descend into a more severe form of depression.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Some people respond badly to reduced levels of light in autumn and winter, and it seems to depress their mood. If you experience low mood at the same time of year, every year (assuming you are in the same location) you may be experiencing SAD. There are many effective treatments, including light therapy.

What are the Causes of Depression?

Depression is thought to be caused by psychological, social and biological factors, or, combinations of those elements.

The precise cause of any one person’s depression may never be known. With some people, the causes are relatively easy to determine (for instance, alcohol is a nervous system suppressant and is often linked to depression). For other people the complexity of the interplay between potential causal factors is such that only some of the causes can be identified.

Causes aside, given skilled help and other factors, in the majority of cases people recover from depression and lead normal lives.

Some of the easiest to spot causes of depression are

Long-term sleep disturbance
Substance abuse (smoking, alcohol, drugs…)
Social isolation
Poor social support
Recent life stress experiences
Learned, adopted, or chosen patterns of thought
Genetic history of depression
Spousal or relationship challenges
Financial pressure
Early life set-backs or abuse
Unemployment, under-employment, mis-employment
Health conditions or chronic pain

For Relatives and Friends

In the most serious cases of depression, the sufferer is unable to take any action to explore or address the causes. They are unlikely to come to a website like this. If your relative or friend is so depressed that they are unable to take any action to help themselves, they may be in need of medical assistance.


Each person is different, as such, it is unlikely that any one off-the-shelf treatment can work for every person’s depression. A skilled psychotherapist will find the way (usually several ways) to best help you overcome depression.


Making an appointment

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