DEPRESSION               Depression

WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

All people can have their ups and downs, and you may feel low for many different reasons, but this does not always mean that you are suffering from depression. Clinical depression is a mood disorder that lasts longer and affects your ability to function on a day to day basis. It causes persistent sadness and loss of interest; it affects how you think, feel and behave and lead to other physical and emotional problems. It can have an impact on all aspects of your life such as work, relationships and health.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION?

Should you be experiencing some or all of the following symptoms most of the time for two weeks or more, you should seek help:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless
  • Disrupted sleep and fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Reduced concentration
  • Poor memory
  • Reduced libido
  • Reduction in day to day functioning, loss of motivation
  • Stopping hobbies/reducing social contact
  • Thoughts that life is not worth living
  • Increase in the use of drugs/alcohol to try and manage your thoughts

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF DEPRESSION?

There is not a specific cause of depression; it varies massively between individuals and is usually a combination of factors. Some common factors are:

  • Genetics: family history of depression may increase a person’s risk.
  • Major events: any life event that is a change from the norm and increases stress can lead to depression, such as moving house, a break-up or losing your job. 
  • Bereavement: loss or grief may increase an individual’s risk of depression. Illness: suffering from long term, life-threatening illnesses or brain injuries may cause depression.
  • Substance abuse: many drugs may relax an individual initially, but consistent use increases the chance of depression
  • Abuse: vulnerability to depression can be increased due to past physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
  • Social isolation: Social isolation due to being shunned from a social group or family can increase the risk of developing clinical depression. 

HOW COMMON IS DEPRESSION?

The leading mental health problem in the world is depression, followed by anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In England, 24% of women and 13% of men in England are diagnosed with depression in their lifetime. Depression often occurs alongside other mental health issues.

HOW CAN I MANAGE DEPRESSION?

  • Look after your overall health by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep (7 to 9 hours) and exercise regularly.
  • Keep a mood diary to track changes in mood and notice what activities make you feel better or worse. 
  • Learn relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation. 
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. Although these substances can offer short term relief, they are not a long term solution and can even worsen symptoms.

However, in some cases, self-help is not enough, and professional intervention may be required to assist in recovery.

WHAT ARE THE METHODS OF TREATING DEPRESSION?

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TREATING DEPRESSION?

  • Improvement in overall functioning and motivation.
  • Identify the negative thought patterns that have caused unhappiness and lower mood.
  • Learn methods of coping that help to maintain good mental health.
  • Gain a more positive view and your self and the world around you.

WHERE CAN I GO FOR HELP?

You can make an appointment to see the GP. They can signpost you to support within the NHS.

There are many charities out there that can offer guidance and support, such as, Rethink Mental Illness and Mind (see useful links).

HOW CAN SELECT PSYCHOLOGY HELP WITH BIPOLAR DISORDER?

Select Psychology offers a wide of therapies to address depression and gives you the tools to cope and understand your emotions. We are a private mental health service with highly trained therapists and no waiting lists.

This is how therapy would work:

Step 1 – Get in touch:  The first step is recognising you have an issue and seeking help –  Book a free telephone consultation and start the process by providing a space and time to share your needs with us.

Step 2 – Telephone Consultation: You will be heard and understood through a confidential phone conversation. Often called the ‘triage’ this is where you can share more about your needs, and we can advise on therapy pathways and provide initial guidance where possible.

Step 3 – Appointment Offer: We will match your needs with the best fit practitioner for your therapy pathway and offer you an appointment within two weeks.

Step 4 – Initial Assessment: Before you begin a course of therapy, your therapist will need to conduct an assessment in order agree a course of therapy with you that will best help you and address your goals. This is still part of the therapeutic process and will provide you with a better understanding of your difficulties and how you may start to approach them.

Step 5 – Your Therapy: Following on from your assessment, you will move onto therapy. Appointments are 50 minutes – these can be anything from weekly to monthly, depending on your individual circumstances. The number of sessions required to feel better will depend on your needs and therapy plan, this can range between 8-16 sessions, but in general, more time is needed to address more complex issues.

Step 6 – Feeling Better: As you start to improve, you can agree on changes to the frequency of sessions as required. Ultimately, there will be a time when both you and your therapist agree that you no longer need to continue in active therapy.

FAQ

How do I know that I am depressed?

The symptoms of depression vary greatly between individuals. However, a lack of motivation to carry out everyday tasks and feelings of sadness and hopelessness are common.

What to do if I think I am depressed?

Seek help. This can be the hardest but most essential step for being able to recover.

What are the general methods used to treat depression?

Many approaches to treat depression are available, the most frequently used evidence-based methods are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy.

What is the difference between bipolar and unipolar depression?

Bipolar involves a cycle between manic and depressive states, whereas unipolar depression is being in a depressive state.

How do I know what treatment is best for me?

It can vary from person to person what treatment or therapist is right for them. Therapists typically complete an assessment and then agree on treatment with your direct involvement.

What happens if depression goes untreated? 

Depression can have a massive impact on your physical health and mental wellbeing. The severity is unknown, but it is best not to leave it to chance and get the help necessary.

RELATED ISSUES

USEFUL LINKS

Article – Coping with anxiety and depression

Mental Health Charities:

Rethink Mental Health

Mind