What is Depression?
Depression is a prolonged sadness, flat or low mood experienced over weeks, months, or years. The nature of depression means it impacts our quality of life and relationships, often daily. It is a common medical condition, with one in seven Australians experiencing depression in their lifetime, and one in 16 Australians currently experiencing depression.
Everyone’s circumstances and experiences are unique, and so the causes of depression will vary for everyone. Life events, personal factors, and biology have all been linked to depression, and it is people’s unique combination of these factors that may lead to the development of depression.
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
Generally, when people to refer to depression they are talking about the clinical diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. However, there are other conditions that will also have depressive symptoms as part of the diagnostic presentation.
Below are the main symptoms of a Major Depressive episode. You do not need to experience all symptoms to be meet the criteria of Major Depressive Disorder – 5 of the 9 symptoms may mean you have this diagnosis.
- Low mood: Sadness, inability to get excited
- Low motivation and loss of interest. Some experiences may include low motivation to engage in hobbies, loss of interest in socializing, low interest in self-care, or to work. Routine tasks such as getting out of bed, having a shower, opening blinds, and leaving the house may also be a struggle
Other symptoms include:
- Changes in weight, which could be an increase or a decrease due to changes in appetite or motivation
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Cognitive functioning, often described as difficulties in concentrating, focus, memory, problem solving, multi-tasking
- Slowing of physical movement, as observed by others
- Thoughts of worthlessness, irrational guilt
- Thoughts of death including suicidal ideation or preoccupation with death
Difference between depression and anxiety
Depression and anxiety are separate conditions, though they do share a high level of comorbidity. That is, people are likely to experience both at the same time. At a simplified and fundamental level, depression is based on the emotions of sadness and motivation whereas anxiety is based on fear or worry and avoidance.
Treatment for Depression
Some broad strategies that have been shown to help with depression are:
- Self Care: eating well, sleeping well, and exercising
- Goal setting and sense of achievement through productivity
- Engaging in hobbies
- Positive social interactions
If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of depression, engaging in therapy with a psychologist will allow you to learn tools and strategies tailored to your unique situation. This is important because everyone’s circumstances and experiences are unique. A psychologist creates a safe environment to explore these unique contributing factors and will work with you to understand your experience of depression to tailor individual and supportive treatment.
BLACKTOWN PSYCHOLOGY CENTRE
Our focus is a positive outcome for every person we engage with. Our strategies define goals and our therapies are tailored to achieve them. Respect, compassion and understanding without judgement allow us to be effective and earn the trust we need to treat and empower.
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Blacktown NSW 2148
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