All of us experience low mood or feel down from time to time, especially during stressful periods or following a life event. However, depression is much more persistent than general low mood and can last for weeks, months or even years if not identified and treated.
Depression can be brought on for many different reasons. This could be following a relationship breakdown, loss of a job, bereavement or even after the birth of a child and the adjustment of dealing with this new little life.
People suffering from depression often experience symptoms such as sadness, lethargy, and lack of motivation or interest in the things they once enjoyed. They often report finding daily activities a chore and can easily become very tearful. Many people with depression often also struggle with anxiety symptoms and as a result of this can become withdrawn.
People can also experience physical symptoms such as lack of appetite or sex drive and often report aches and pains throughout their body.
Doctors describe depression by how serious it is:
Mild depression: This is characterised by having some impact on a person’s daily life but generally the person is still able to function and engage in activities.
Moderate Depression: Has a more significant impact on a person’s life. This person may struggle to work or manage daily activities. They may also lack motivation for things such as personal hygiene.
Severe Depression: A person suffering with severe depression would find it almost impossible to get through daily life. They would most likely have suicidal thoughts and can sometimes suffer from psychotic symptoms. A person suffering with this level of depressive symptoms would need support from mental health services initially to help them through their crisis period.
The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be a very helpful for people suffering with depression as it works by looking at person’s negative thoughts and behaviours and helping them find a way to understand and manage these. CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviours are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle. During therapy we provide you with a safe space to talk through these thoughts and feelings at a pace that is comfortable for our clients to enable them break out of this cycle and move forwards with their lives.
CBT is the recognised treatment of choice for Depression the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)