Depression

depression

quick facts

Depression is very common with one in five people experiencing depression at some point during their lifetime. It is important to understand and realise you are never alone. It can affect people of any age, gender and background and is among the leading causes of disability worldwide. Depression may vary from mild or temporary, to severe and prolonged. It is predicted that depression will be the leading cause of disability and the second most likely contributor to the global burden of disease by the year 2020.

Depression can be reliably diagnosed and treated, but fewer than 25% of those affected access effective treatments. If untreated, depression can become chronic or recurrent and lead to the individual struggling to deal with everyday responsibilities. In the worst case scenario it can lead to suicide. Although, with the right treatment, such as those provided by Perth Clinic, most people with serious depression will improve, often within weeks and can return to normal daily activities.

Depression is usually described as feelings of extreme sadness. It includes a loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration, social isolation or withdrawal and memory difficulties.

Depression is like any other illness such as heart disease or hurting your back. Try not to feel embarrassed or ashamed to seek help. Depression is best treated as early as possible. Your GP is the best initial contact.

People who are depressed may also become agitated or anxious. If you are anxious or constantly worried, your memory, concentration and enjoyment in life can be affected. It is quite common to develop anxiety with depression.

If you or someone you care about seems to be suffering from a depressive disorder, expert and effective help is available. Read on for more information on what to do. Acting sooner rather than later could help you to save your own or someone else’s life.

depressive symptoms

Do you recognise any of these symptoms?

Signs of clinical depression may include persistent or extreme feelings of:

  • Sadness or guilt
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Poor sleep
  • Social isolation or withdrawal
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased confusion
  • Memory difficulties

options for treatment

A range of options are available for the treatment of depression. The biochemical changes that occur with a depressive disorder are often best managed with medication. The use of medication in conjunction with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective intervention. Unlike the early antidepressants, new-age drugs offer fewer side effects and better outcomes that can greatly assist a person on the road to recovery.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy alone or in conjunction with medical interventions has been used in the treatment of depression for nearly 50 years. It is based on the identification and challenging of unhelpful, negative or irrational thoughts or beliefs that the person has developed relating to themselves, others or the world in general.

Such thoughts and beliefs form patterns over time. When they become entrenched in the person’s mind, they often lose the ability to be objective and rational, and a destructive spiral of negative thoughts and behaviours may follow.

Dysfunctional assumptions alone do not account for the development of clinical depression. Problems arise when critical incidents occur which mesh with the person’s own system of beliefs. For example, the belief that one’s personal worth depends entirely on success or achievement, could lead to depression in the face of a failure, and the belief that to be loved is essential to happiness could trigger depression following rejection or a relationship breakup.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is ‘an active, directive, brief, time-limited, structured approach which targets unhelpful thinking styles and beliefs, and assists the person to develop more helpful behaviours. It emphasises self-responsibility and the development of helpful coping skills.

This approach to treatment is based on many years of research and employs sound therapeutic techniques in collaboration with the patient who is viewed as an equal and active participant in the therapy.

Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT has also been shown to be an effective treatment option for depression. Often ECT is used for those whose depressive symptoms have resisted alternative forms of treatment. However, many have suggested its use as a frontline treatment because the results can be fast and positive.

A more detailed description of our programs can be found in Treatment Programs

useful links

For more information on the symptoms of depression for people of all ages, go to:

National Institute of Mental Health — Publications
Beyond Blue
www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

referrals

For further information go to Referral Process