Depression and depressive disorders are a common mental health issue affecting approximately 1 in 7 people in Australia today. In many cases, people ‘soldier on’ for long periods without seeking help. Finding a suitable therapist, psychologist and clinical psychologist to treat depression is important as this person will often work alongside of your General Practitioner to manage your condition.
Particular groups of people can be more vulnerable to depression (including youth, men, the elderly, women in the perinatal period and those with co existing mental health problems) however depression can affect people across the lifespan.
Early intervention, assessment and appropriate treatment are important although treatment can occur at any age and stage in a person’s depression history. Improving quality of life, re integrating what matters to a person and working on motivation are all important.
It’s also important to remember that clinical depression is more than just a ‘case of the blues’, or ‘feeling down’. We can all feel down from time to time for different reasons and shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that we are depressed as a consequence. Generally speaking though, in these situations, these feelings are not prolonged and usually resolve reasonably quickly and without effort. Depression consists of a set of symptoms which include a low mood which are prolonged and significantly impact quality of life. Clinically depressed people can literally struggle with everyday tasks including getting out bed, eating a healthy diet, self care and getting to work.
There are several theories about what causes depression and these can include personal factors (family history, personality, drug and alcohol issues and serious health problems) alongside of changes in the brain (however we need to remember that depression is not just caused by a chemical imbalance).
There are different types of depression, including major depression (sometimes referred to as clinical depression), bipolar disorder and ante natal and post natal depression. The symptoms of depression can vary from minor to quite debilitating.
Depression: Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of depression can vary but generally include a combination of behavioural, feeling (emotion) based, thinking based and physical symptoms. It’s been said that depression has its’ own unique fingerprint and that no two experiences of depression are quite the same.
- difficulty getting things done at work/school
- withdrawing from close family and friends and general social isolation and lacking the motivation to do so
- not doing usual enjoyable activities that were previously meaningful and valued.
- unable to concentrate
- ‘I’m a failure, I’m no good’
- ‘Nothing good ever happens to me’
- ‘I’m worthless. I’m nothing’
- ‘People would be better off without me, I can’t see the point’
- tired all the time, no energy, no motivation
- sick and run down, susceptible to illnesses, cold and flu etc
- headaches and muscle pains, muscle tension
- churning gut, visceral feelings
- sleep problems including excessive sleep or waking during the night
- loss or change of appetite
Treatment for Depression
Finding someone who’ll work with you as a ‘whole person’ (holistically) not just a set of symptoms is important. Your depression fingerprint affects you uniquely. You need to find a therapist who is interested in how depression impacts you uniquely.
There are many evidenced based psychotherapeutic treatments for depression including:
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction
- Mindfulness based therapy
In some cases medication is needed alongside of psychotherapy treatment. You’ll need to chat with your GP or a psychiatrist about medication and its suitability for your symptoms.
Additionally, a psychologist, clinical psychologist, mental health social worker or psychotherapist may be able to help you. Your General Practitioner is a generally a good place to start. Having an honest discussion with your GP about your symptoms can be difficult, but GPs are well versed in the management of depression and treatment options. Your GP may advise on a course of psychologically based sessions via a GP Mental Health Treatment Plan which allows you to access up to 10 sessions in a calendar year where Medicare will refund you a portion of your session fee. In some cases you may be bulk billed (usually in cases of financial hardship). It’s worth noting though that depression treatment may take more than 10 sessions and being committed to this investment in your psychological wellbeing is important.
How can Talkingminds help Treat Depression in the inner west/CBD Sydney
Experience, commitment and evidence based approaches clearly define the team at Talkingminds. Our psychologists, clinical psychologists, mental health social workers work with you holistically to target the most effective methods to manage your depression. Our established practice has been operating for 10 years and is well networked. We have an onsite psychiatrist who can also assist in the management of depression.
To make an appointment to see one of our experienced psychologists or therapists please contact us.
For more information on Depression visit: Beyondblue.org.au or Blackdoginstitute.org.au