Depression

What is depression?

Depression is a common illness, with an estimated 350 million people affected worldwide. It is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. It is a serious health condition, causing the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family.

At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, Over 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15 – 29 year olds.

Causes

There are a number of factors that contribute to developing depression. It usually results from a combination of recent events and other long-term or personal factors, rather than one immediate issue or event.

Life events

Continuing difficulties (e.g., long term unemployment, living in an abusive relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness, prolonged work stress) are more likely to cause depression than recent life stresses.

However, recent events (such as losing your job) can ‘trigger’ depression if you are already at risk.

Personal Factors

  • Family history
  • Personality – some people may be more at risk because of their personality particularly if they tend to worry a lot, are highly sensitive, perfectionist, or are self-critical and negative.
  • Serious medical illness
  • Drug and alcohol use

Biochemical

This is not simply a ‘chemical imbalance’. Factors such as genetic vulnerability, life stressors, substances you take (such as medication, drugs and alcohol) and medical conditions can affect the way your brain regulates your moods.

Signs and Symptoms

You may be depressed if, for more than two weeks you have felt sad, down and miserable most of the time, or have lost pleasure in usual activities. You have experienced several signs and symptoms below:

  •  Not going out anymore
  • Not participating in work or school
  • Withdrawing from close family and friends
  • Relying on alcohol and sedatives
  • Not doing usual enjoyable activities
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Overwhelming feelings including: sadness, guilt, irritation, frustration unhappiness, indecisiveness, disappointment, misery and/or sadness
  • Feeling worthless and that your loved ones that better off with you
  • Tired
  • Sick and run down
  • Sleep problems
  • Loss or change of appetite
  • Significant weight loss or gain

Types of depression

Recurrent depressive disorder: This involves repeated depressive episodes. During this period, the person experiences depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy levels for at least to weeks. They may also suffer from anxiety symptoms, disturbed sleep and appetite and may have feelings of worthlessness and poor concentration.

Bipolar affective disorder: This consists of manic and depressive episodes separated by periods of normal mood. Manic episodes involve elevated or irritable mood, over-activity, pressure of speech, inflated self-esteen and a decreased need for sleep

Antental and postnatal depression: Women are at increased risk of depression during pregnancy (antenatal or prenatal period) and in the year following childbirth (the postnatal period). This is related to the hormonal changes that place during pregnancy, and affects up to 80 per cent of women. It can affect not only the mother, but her relationship with her baby, the child’s development, the mother’s relationship with her partner and with other members of the family. Almost 10% of women will experience during pregnancy. This increases to 16% in the first three months after having a baby.

Treating Depression

There is a range of effective treatments that can help you on the road to recovery. The important thing is finding the right one for you. Using an integrated approach to mental health care, our team of experienced practitioners will tailor a treatment plan that matches each individual patient’s needs.

Psychotherapy (talk therapy) can help you change your thinking patterns and improve your coping skills. It can help you stay well by identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and behavior. There are several types of effective psychological treatments such as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Medication: Antidepressants can be useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression, in conjunction with talk therapy. People with more severe forms of depression (bipolar and pyschosis) generally need to be treated with medication. This may include one or a combination of mood stabilizers, anti-psychotic drugs and antidepressants.

Group Therapy: Support groups can give you an opportunity to connect with others, share experience and find new ways to deal with challenges. Check our calendar to find out when our next Group Therapy for Depression starts.

Art Therapy: Art therapy is a unique approach to treating depression. It can help patients get in touch with their feelings and give them a platform to express them. You do not need to have any art skills, as a trained artist our Art Psychotherapist will help you explore your visual image.

Hypnotherapy: Dealing directly with your subconscious mind, hypnotherapy can help you to identify and release any stored memories or emotions that is contributing to your depression. It can help to ‘install’ more positive ways of thinking.

Source: Beyond Blue, Health Line