Treatment of Depression
One in five people commonly experience clinical depression some time in their life. It is essential to understand that it impact us all in some way without any exception. In order to reduce stigma, we need to work together towards creating awareness, enhancing our understanding and being supportive, listen to, and talk with those we are attached to.
Sadness or depressed mood can be normal, but due to certain life pressures people can find it difficult in dealing with depression that starts interfering with their personal as well as professional life.
According to Dr. Stan Steindl, clinical psychologist and director of Psychology Consultants, up to 15% of people are likely to suffer from clinical depression and seek help.
The term depression describes an illness characterised by intense depressed mood that generally persists for two weeks or longer and significantly affects a person’s life. It is often accompanied by feelings of sadness, helplessness, and a loss of enjoyment and satisfaction. Depression can be caused by many different factors, including heredity, biochemical imbalances in the brain, personal and work-related stress, bereavement, trauma or long term personality traits. Not all people who feel sad are necessarily depressed.
Symptoms of Depression: The severity and frequency of symptoms will vary from one individual to the next. The symptoms may consist of:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain.
TREATING DEPRESSION USING COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY
Depression is commonly treated using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, (CBT) an evidence-based therapy which focuses mostly on the way people think about things (including their attitudes and beliefs) and the way they behave. CBT is based on the understanding that thinking negatively is a habit, and, like any other bad habit, it can be modified. It helps people identify where their thoughts and actions are negative, and then to replace these “bad habits” with more helpful thoughts and responses.
CBT utilises both cognitive therapy and behaviour therapy. Cognitive therapy aims to identify and evaluate the unhelpful thoughts (or cognitions) that lead to negative feelings (e.g. depression, anxiety) and behaviours (e.g. avoiding friends). The treatment focuses on questioning thoughts and restructuring these with positive ways to think about difficult situations. Behaviour therapy is goal-oriented and aims to help people change unhealthy or unhelpful behaviours that cause them to suffer or lower their quality and enjoyment of life. For example, people who are depressed often enjoy fewer pleasurable activities and so your psychologist would work with you to identify pleasurable activities and develop a plan to increase your participation in them.
Finally, CBT not only helps you to understand, manage and challenge thought and behaviour patterns, but can also provide you with a range of useful and practical strategies to enhance your productivity, well-being and your ability to cope with various situations in everyday life.
Psychology Consultants have a large team of female and male brisbane psychologists who are equipped with the knowledge and experience to treat clinical depression, depressive disorders and related conditions. For more information on our team of Clinical Psychologists, visit Brisbane Psychologists page.