What is Depression and How is it Treated?

People will feel sad or low at times, but when this occurs intensely and for prolonged periods of time, and presents along with other symptoms, it may be an indication that they are experiencing depression. Approximately 6-7% of people experience a depressive episode or depressive disorder during any given year. Recognising depression can be difficult, as it can present with a range of symptoms that vary in degree. But once identified, there are a range of effective treatments for depression.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have depression, your GP and/or a mental health professional can discuss your concerns and provide support. They can discuss symptoms of depression with you, which may include:

  • Depressed, low or sad mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or emptiness
  • Numbness
  • Significant weight loss or gain, or decrease or increase in appetite
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Agitation, irritability, or anger
  • Withdrawal
  • Negative thoughts
  • Dwelling/rumination
  • Fatigue, of loss of energy and/or loss of motivation
  • Excessive or irrational guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or thinking clearly
  • Thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of interst or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
  • Everything feels like an effort

There are a number very effective treatments for depression. Mental health professionals like psychologists and accredited mental health social workers can assist you to address symptoms of depression using a range of therapeutic models such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Interperdonal Therapy, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Schema Therapy, among others. Using evidence-based therapy models, a number of therapeutic interventions are introduced to address symptoms of depression which may include:

  • Education about depression, symptoms, and the factors that increase or reinforce depression
  • Identification and self-monitoring of symptoms
  • Improving sleep
  • Relaxation training and breathing exercises
  • Setting goals
  • Increasing motivation
  • Cognitive strategies to address unhelpful thinking patterns and negative thoughts
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Increasing exercise and physical activity
  • Pleasant activities
  • Problem solving
  • Stress management
  • Skill development
  • Improving social support and relationships/interactions or managing conflict

Further information about depression can be found at the following websites:

Our clinicians at The Hummingbird Centre are skilled and experienced in assisting people to identify and address depression and improve their quality of life.

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