Depression is experienced as feeling down or depressed, experiencing tiredness almost every day, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual, a sense of restlessness, significant weight gain or loss. Depression is defined as a serious medical (psychological) condition in which a person feels sad and hopeless and is often unable to live in a normal way. Depression can impact anyone and can have severe consequences on the daily life of the patient.
Symptoms of depression
Depression is found in 1 in every 10 Australian citizens, with a higher occurrence in young people between the age of 15 – 25. Depression can lead to severe symptoms, such as mentioned above as well as thoughts of suicide. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Australian youngsters, rating higher than car accidents and other diseases. When a patient has been feeling down or depressed for more than two weeks and has symptoms in at least three of the categories below, they can be classified as having a depression. Keep in mind, that depression can also be a symptom itself of or can exist in combination with other disorders. People with depression are more likely to have anxiety disorders, disruptive behaviour disorders or have problems with the abuse of drugs.
Symptoms of depression can be classified in four categories:
1. Behaviour: Symptoms include not going out anymore, loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities, not getting things done at school/work, inability to concentrate, withdrawing from friends or overeating or appetite loss.
2. Feelings: Patients who suffer from a depression can experience feelings of being overwhelmed, feeling guilty, frustrated, unhappy, sad, miserable, indecisive and so on.
3. Thoughts: Having recurrent thoughts such as ‘nothing good ever happens to me’, ‘I’m a failure’, ‘It’s all my fault’ or ‘life’s not worth living’ can be indications that a person is suffering from a depression.
4. Physical: Symptoms include feeling tired all the time, being angry or irritable, significant gain or loss of weight, sleep problems, reckless behaviour or having unexplained aches or pains.
Treatment of depression, different forms
Depression can be treated with several different forms of treatment, including therapy and medication. The most common used form of treatment is therapy, specifically CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), in which the therapist will help the patient to see how behaviours and the way the patient thinks about things plays a role in the depression. These behaviours and ways of thinking can be a reason in their becoming depressed or can be what is stopping them from becoming better once they are depressed. In CBT, the therapist works alongside with the patient to identify and change these thoughts and behaviours. Another commonly used form of treatment is the use of antidepressants (medication), such as SSRI’s (most commonly used in Australia). In general, there are many forms of antidepressants and finding the right one for the patient will take into account the situation, age, symptoms, other medication. The decision on which medication to use should always be done in consultation with a doctor or psychiatrist and only done after careful consideration.
Which (combination of) treatment is the best?
Therapy or medication? CBT or antidepressants? Maybe both? Research over many years has shown that both therapy and medication can effectively be used to treat depression. Some research will show that therapy is more effective, some research will show that medication is more effective. However, new research has shown that, whether suffering from a light or severe depression, using a combination of therapy and medication will offer the best results. Antidepressants can give side-effects for the first 4-6 weeks (time and side effects depend on which type is used), but will show improvement after this initial period. Combining antidepressants with therapy, especially during the first 4-6 weeks, has shown to have the best results in overcoming depression. Patients who suffer from a light depression might opt to use only therapy as their treatment, in which they will not have to start and stop using medication, and avoiding the side-effects altogether. In patients with a severe depression, research has clearly shown that using a combination will be the most effective in helping them fight and even overcome the depression.
Treating depression from an early stage is important, the effects it can have on the patient can be severe and can impact even the smallest things in daily life. We offer depression counselling, including CBT, that can help deal with the emotional and psychological consequences of depression. We can help you decide which treatment would be best suited to you and help you overcome the struggles of dealing with a depression. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like to have more information.
For more information on the best treatments for depression in Sydney using a specialist counselor contact the clinical psychologists in Potentialz Unlimited with full confidence. All inquiries are treated with full confidence.