Do you find yourself lacking the energy to carry out the simplest of tasks such as brushing your hair for weeks or even getting out of bed? Or perhaps you have days where you feel on top of the world one moment and so down that you doubt the world has any colour the next? If these resonate with you, or you have found that someone you love is displaying these things, then you or the person you love may be experiencing depression.
What is Depression?
Depression – also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression – is a common but severe mood disorder. It can affect how you feel, what you are thinking, and daily activities such as your sleeping patterns, eating habits and/or can impact you at work.
There are different types of depression, some of which can be a result of specific circumstances.
1. Major Depression: You may notice that you are showing signs of depressed moods, and often a loss of interest in daily activities. You may experience these for a period of up to 2 weeks at a time, to a point where it interferes with your daily life such as your work or sleeping patterns.
2. Persistent Depressive Disorder:This is also known as dysthymia or dysthymic disorder. You may find that your experiences of persistent depressive disorder are less severe than that of major depression. However, the period that you experience the signs of the disorder often extends past 2 years.
3. Seasonal Affective Disorder:This type of depression is often associated with the seasons. As a result, you may experience your depression at the end of autumn and/or early winter, all the way through to the spring and summer months.
4. Perinatal Depression: This type of depression occurs during or after pregnancy. You may experience depression during your pregnancy, in which case it is prenatal depression. If you find yourself experiencing bouts of depression after giving birth, this is what is known as postnatal depression. Both types of depression are quite common. To read and learn more about pre-and postnatal depression, visit the dedicated blog which you can find our website.
5. Depression with symptoms of Psychosis: This type of depression is a severe form in which you experience aspects of psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations (both auditory and visual) alongside depression.
What Triggers Depression?
Like most disorders, there is not just one single trigger for depression. The trigger, or triggers for depression can vary depending on the person. For example, you might find that your depression was triggered by a combination of factors. Or you might find that you feel depressed without an obvious cause or trigger. Some of the possible triggers are listed below:
Adverse childhood experience– going through difficult experiences early on in life, might make you more vulnerable to experiencing depression later in life. These difficult experiences may also have a negative impact on your self-esteem, which can in turn make it tough to cope with difficult situations and lead to depression in adulthood.
Stressful life events – if you have experienced, or are going through a stressful or traumatic event, you might experience depression because of that. This could be things such as relationship problems, experiencing abuse, or losing your job. Not only does the experience itself trigger depression, but also how you cope with it, and whether you have a good support system around you.
Styles of thinking – if you are the type of person to blame yourself for negative events or experiences that have happened or repeatedly think about negative events, you may be more likely to experience depression.
Other triggers can include:
· Other mental health problems
· Physical health problems
· Family history of depression or mental health issues
What are the Impacts?
No matter the type of depression, you will often find that the impact is mostly the same. Depression tends to have a profound negative impact on your life. It reduces your productivity and how well you can perform at work or in school. It may also negatively impact your relationships with family, friends and might strain your relationship with your partner. As your depression gets severe, the less likely you may be to go out and engage with your community and society, as one of the main impacts of depression is that you tend to have less energy to complete tasks and follow your daily routine. These impacts are felt in all types of people – no matter your demographic.
How is Depression Treated?
Like the triggers of depression, you will often find that the treatment for depression is made up of a combination of therapy and medication. The treatment course that you are recommended will be based on the type of depression you have.
Mild depression – For example, if you have mild depression, you could benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT involves you working through your thoughts, feelings and behaviours and working together with your therapist to modify them, to relieve you from the cycle you may be stuck in.
Moderate to Severe depression –If you have more severe depression, you may be recommended a combination therapy, whereby you have a course of anti-depressants while also going to talking therapy. A combination of an antidepressant and CBT usually works best of you have moderate to severe depression, rather than having just one as a standalone treatment.
There are also multiple types of talking therapies alongside CBT, which are listed below:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy– this helps you to understand your thoughts and behaviours and how these affect you. It concentrates on how you can change your thoughts and feelings to change how you behave in the present. It also helps you to overcome negative thoughts, by challenging them. The course of CBT usually ranges between 6 to 12 sessions, depending on how severe your depression is. The duration of CBT typically depends on your goals in therapy.
Psychodynamic Therapy – in this type of therapy, you are encouraged to say whatever is going on in your mind. This aims to help you become aware of difficult feelings in your relationships and in stressful situations. It will also help identify patterns in your actions and in what you say, and how these may be contributing to your depression.
Integrative Therapy: Integrative therapy utilises a combination of therapeutic modalities such as CBT and Psychodynamic therapy. This works by thinking about the present cycles that you may be stuck in while also thinking about the roots of your depression. These discussions include exploration of the present (‘here and now’) as well as your past and childhood experiences.
If you need more information about accessing therapies, or even for an assessment for depression, visit the website to book a free 15-minute chat with one of the team, or call us on 07931903310.