What is depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in daily activities. It can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour, and physical well-being. Depression can range from mild to severe and can be a chronic or acute condition.
What are the causes?
The underlying causes to depression are a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Common triggers of depression include stress, trauma, grief, chronic illness, and major life changes.
Am I depressed?
The symptoms of depression vary from person to person, but may include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or hypersomnia
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
There are different tests and assessment tools used to diagnose depression, including questionnaires and psychological interviews. These assessments typically evaluate the severity and frequency of depressive symptoms, as well as the impact of depression on daily functioning and quality of life.
The PHQ9 is a self-administered questionnaire which is commonly used to assess low mood. It is not designed for individuals to complete without any input from a mental health professional. Please contact a licensed Psychotherapist (online or in-person home visits) here. if you are concerned about mood; or have completed this questionnaire and it indicates that you may be depressed. Click here to access a commonly used symptomatic questionnaire used in treatment by professionals
How to treat?
Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a recommended psychological intervention for overcoming depression (see Nice guidelines)
CBT aims to help individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about oneself, the world, and the future. CBT assists individuals with developing more positive and constructive ways of thinking.
CBT also incorporates behavioural strategies to help individuals increase their engagement in pleasurable activities, improve sleep, and develop healthy coping skills for managing stress and negative emotions. This is also known as Behavioural Activation (BA) . BA is also recommended in the NICE guidelines for successful treatment of depression.
During CBT, individuals collaborate with their Psychotherapist to develop a personalised treatment plan, alongside value directed goals and strategies for managing low mood.
CBT typically involves a structured course of treatment over several weeks or months. BA may require a similar engagement period. Both CBT and BA are typically combined to create a highly effective treatment plan that works best to assist with overcoming depression and importantly reduce the risk of relapse.
Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) is also used to assist with reducing elevated levels of shame and self criticism which are commonly associated with depression.
If you feel that you, a friend or relative would benefit from psychotherapeutic support in overcoming depression and to improve low mood, then please get in touch via email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Websites and additional information
The National Institute of Clinical Excellence of treatment guidelines on depression can be accessed here
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