Depression – Am I Depressed?
Life can be hard sometimes. We all have periods of our life where we feel sad, lethargic, unmotivated or experience low mood from time to time. Depression can develop into a serious mental health issue and typically includes a persistent low mood and feelings of sadness for longer than two weeks, as well as negative thinking, feelings of hopelessness and low self-esteem all of which may interfere with our daily life and relationships.
Signs and Symptoms
These can be divided into; Physiological (physical), Cognitive/Affective (our thoughts and emotions), Behavioural (how we act, behave)
- Changes to our appetite and insomnia – we may eat too much, or we may have no interest in eating; we have poor disrupted sleep patterns
- Low energy levels – feeling tired for no good reason
- Headaches, heavy head, stomach aches
- Difficulty thinking clearly, not being able to focus or concentrate, not hearing things clearly
- Worry or negative thinking – always anticipating the worst possible outcome; not seeing any possible solutions to the situation, feeling hopeless about the situation, feeling worthless, feeling anxious
- Loss of interest in activities, people and social outings; avoiding people, avoiding interactions with others
Causes and Types of Depression
There is no one cause for depression but rather a combination of factors interacting with one another. Some of these factors include:
- Stress, traumatic events – life situations that cause stress may include bereavement, loss of a relationship, financial failure, abuse, or unemployment and continued long term stress may for some people lead to depression. Change often results in some sort of loss and with it a grief reaction that may include the symptoms of depression.
- Self-perception – the way we view ourselves, and our place in the world can contribute to how we feel
- Medications – certain medications may also impact an individual’s mood and interest in life, leaving them at risk of developing low moods.
- Genetics – this doesn’t mean that it runs in the family but rather that you may be more vulnerable to developing depression.
- Brain structure, brain activity and chemistry – the reduced activity of neurotransmitters (how the brain communicates) can often disturb areas of the brain that regulate, sleep, appetite, sexual drive and even mood.
- Hormones changes – during pregnancy can impact mood.
Diagnosis of Depression
There are so many factors that can impact our mood, our energy levels and our joie de vivre that self-diagnosing Depression can be tricky.
Seeing a Psychologist or a General Practitioner is a great step toward diagnosis.
A GP can make a physical and psychological initial assessment, consider all your specific health requirements and conditions and offer you some options for treatment.
A psychologist is able to diagnose and treat a range of mental health conditions including depression. At Revive Health and Happiness we can work with you to find strategies to support you.
Treatments for Managing Depression
There are many therapies that may help manage depressive moods, negative thinking and support you to reduce the symptoms that interfere with you engaging fully in life.
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) helps change negative thinking patterns associated with depression. It focuses on challenging unhelpful beliefs and developing more helpful and balanced thoughts.
- Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) focuses on helping you identify your patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving which may be linked to earlier experiences in your life. Therapy aims to teach you how to improve and evaluate your interactions with others 0and develop strategies that can equip you for positive change.
- Behaviour Therapy addresses aspects of behaviour that may be preventing you from overcoming depression. For example, this may include learning specific skills like goal setting, social skills training and problem-solving.
- Lifestyle changes often help reduce symptoms of depression that may be causing you to disengage from life. These include finding strategies to reduce the impact of stress, improving sleep patterns, increasing exercise (which regulates mood), nourishing the body with good food, connecting and socialising with family, friends and community, finding a sense of purpose and learning to add some calm in your life.
Where to find us: Revive Health and Happiness is located at 129 Royal Street East Perth. You are welcome to call in to make an appointment, phone 6381 0297 or book an appointment online. While you do not need a referral, your GP can refer to us as part of your treatment plan, and when they complete a GP Mental Health Care Plan you can receive a Medicare rebate.
By Carla Bormolini