Everybody, from time to time, will feel low. Depression, however, is an enduring low that commonly comes with intense feelings of hopelessness, anxiety and helplessness. It is characterised by feelings of sadness, guilt, low self-worth, a loss of interest or pleasure, disturbed sleep and appetite, tiredness/fatigue and poor concentration.
25% of woman and 12% of men will suffer from Depression during their lifetime. It is estimated that worldwide, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. Winston Churchill famously suffered from it, calling it his "black dog" and this theme is followed up in this excellent World Health Organisation video.
Common Symptoms of Depression
Low mood most of the day and nearly every day
Less interest or pleasure in activites you would normally enjoy
Significant weight loss or gain, changes in appetite
Sleeping a lot more or less than normal
Irritable and physically agitated
General fatigue most of the day
Feeling worthless or inappropriately guilty
Finding it hard to concentrate and make decisions
Recurrent thoughts of death / recurrent thoughts of suicide
WHO - "I had a black dog, his name was Depression"
1 in 4 people who see their G.P. are suffering from symptoms of depression, yet this debilitating, stigmatizing mental illness is very treatable. Research studies have consistently found that Cognitive Therapy (CT) is as effective as antidepressant medication in the short term and more effective than medication in the long term in the treatment of depression. Medication may be necessary for severe depression in order to initially engage in therapy but for mild-moderate cases, CBT is the 1st choice of treatment.
There is no one cause of Depression but generally, it will feature loss, for example, loss of health, loss of a job or loss of a close relationship. Depression is difficult to battle on your own. The low mood is self-sustaining as the things you used to do that would boost mood no longer appeal, seem too much effort and now have too many negative connotations. These things have not changed but your perspective has. Depression traps you into negative patterns/cycles of thinking and CBT aims to make you aware of these and start to challenge them gently, at your pace with the support of a trained professional and compassionate ear.
TED-ed What is Depression?
If you think that you may be suffering from the symptoms of Depression and that CBT may be able to help then please don't hesitate to get in touch and we can arrange an assessment session.
If you would like to learn more about Depression then please check out the resources section of this site where I have linked to a number of other sites that may be of some benefit