What is depression?
While everyone feels sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience low mood more intensely and persistently over a long period of time. Depression is more than just low mood; it is a serious condition that significantly affects the way someone feels and is often accompanied by a range of other physical and psychological symptoms that interfere in the way a person is able to function in their everyday life.
What are the symptoms?
Depression can affect everyone in different ways. People will usually experience some of the following:
- Feeling extremely sad and tearful
- Loss of interest in activities you would normally enjoy
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Change in appetite
- Feeling anxious or irritable
- Lack of motivation
- Difficulty making decisions
- Feeling worthless
- Loss of sexual interest
- Physical aches and pains
- Impaired thinking or difficulty concentrating
However, the good news is that just like any physical illness, depression is treatable and effective interventions are available.
What causes depression?
A mix of recent stressors and other longer-term or personal risk factors often causes depression.
Depression can be a reaction to a distressing situation including family conflict, interpersonal challenges, a recent loss or disappointment and workplace issues. Personal factors known to contribute to depression are long-term negative life experiences, family disposition, and personality traits.
Life circumstances appear to have an important influence on the chance of developing depression. It is also common for people to experience depression and anxiety at the same time.
How is depression treated?
There are many effective treatments available for depression. Our psychologists at Inner West Psychology use evidence-based treatments for depression.
Psychological therapy where by you are able to talk about your experience with a qualified mental health professional has shown to be successful in treating depression. Yes it can feel a bit daunting especially if you are not used to talking about your personal problems. However people often will feel comfortable fairly quickly after overcoming that initial uneasiness.
After an initial assessment, treatment may involve learning strategies to help you develop more flexible and adaptive ways of dealing with unhelpful thoughts and beliefs about yourself and your environment.
There are a number of psychological therapies used by our psychologists that are evidence-based including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT). All interventions used at Inner West Psychology are client-focused and tailored to each individual’s needs.
In most cases, depression responds well to psychological therapy on its own. However for more severe or recurrent episodes of depression, medication may be helpful or necessary. People will often find a combination of psychological therapy and medication most effective in treating moderate to severe depression. As only a medical doctor can prescribe medication it is best that people discuss their individual circumstances with their GP before deciding which treatment is best for them.
What to do if you feel suicidal
If you are feeling suicidal and fear that you may act on these thoughts, ring 000 or go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital. You can also receive telephone crisis support by calling Lifeline on 13 14 11.
To read more about depression, go to the following websites or phone the listed services:
Phone: 1300 224 636
Black Dog Institute
Phone: (02) 9382 4530
To make an appointment please call our reception staff on (02) 9518 1061, and one of our psychologists will call you back to find the first available appointment for you with the clinician of your choice.