Read on to learn more about depression, how we diagnose it and the treatment options available.
Depression is a common problem affecting millions of people worldwide. It is a mood disorder that can affect your daily life. Depression affects every person differently but is often characterised by the combination of Persistent low mood (feeling unusually low or tearful for several weeks) and reduced interest in daily activities that were previously enjoyable or rewarding. Some people who experience depression become highly withdrawn (they go into their shells). And they may avoid people and tasks. Others can continue daily activities and hold down normal responsibilities.
If you have depression but can continue daily activities, you might not enjoy them and you may feel less focused. Or you may feel more stressed or irritable. Depression may cause you to avoid places or people. And it can disrupt your eating and sleeping patterns. Some depression grows out of adverse early life experiences. It can also arise as a result of behavioural patterns that you learn from your parents. Other times depression can have a more sudden onset later in life. This may be the result of periods of stress, bereavement or trauma. Often a range of these factors combines to create an episode of depression.
Low mood, sadness, or anhedonia (an inability to feel pleasure)
Lack of interest in activities you would otherwise enjoy or value
Sleeping more or less than usual
Eating more or less than usual
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Increased pain and feeling heavy
Negative thoughts about yourself, others and the future
Do you feel immediately unsafe? Please call 999 as this is an emergency. If you feel like you can stay safe, but want to talk, call the Samaritans on 116 123. Depression is a treatable condition and you will be able to manage your symptoms with the right help. Getting help is the first step toward feeling better.
Psychologists and therapists can diagnose depression through a semi-structured interview and a range of psychometric scales. A semi-structured interview is when your therapist asks you a series of open-ended questions. This helps you to discuss your experiences, so they can assess your symptoms. Psychometric scales are scales that are often used in questionnaires that get you to rate your symptoms. This helps your therapist to assess the scope and severity of what you are experiencing. Your therapist will also consider any other health issues and how these impact your symptoms. You may be more likely to experience depression if you have a chronic health condition. Or if you have experienced chronic stress, trauma, OCD or postnatal problems.
But if you have severe or long-term depression, you may require medication to heal most effectively. This is a wholly acceptable route that shouldn’t be avoided. Antidepressants are the most common type of medication, and we are happy to discuss how your doctor or psychiatrist might prescribe these. Learn more about antidepressants on the NHS website.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
Eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR)
Acceptance and commitment therapy
It gives you practical ways to manage your feelings to reduce symptoms of depression. In this way, CBT can help you break out of unhelpful patterns of behaviour.
You will revisit past trauma with the help of your therapist. Meanwhile, your conscious mind will be distracted by bilateral stimulation. This gives your brain the chance to reprocess traumatic memories. Bilateral stimulation is a repetitive movement across the body. For example, eye movements, tapping or auditory stimulation.
You acknowledge and accept negative feelings, rather than fighting them. And you commit to taking practical steps to face them. Your therapist will help you bring awareness to how you’re feeling. And support you to find practical strategies to reduce the impact stressors have on you.
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If you think you may be experiencing depression, we’d love to talk to you about how we can help. Please contact us to arrange an initial discussion. Our therapist, Jordan Vyas-Lee, will be happy to explore your symptoms and discuss depression treatments that might work for you. Don’t feel like you need to put on a brave face, take the first step towards feeling better today.
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