What is Depression?
Depression is a broad term that is used to refer to a variety of mild to extremely severe experiences and conditions. Feeling depressed is a common experience of low mood that can occur during or after any unpleasant or difficult life circumstances, including dissatisfaction with work, relationship problems, financial crises, illness etc… and any experiences of grief & loss. Depression can also be a serious mood disorder or illness. Mood disorders can involve both depressed and elevated mood states, such as in Bipolar Disorders and can sometimes involve psychosis – a loss of touch with reality.
What Causes Depression?
Depression has many causes, such as, genetics, biochemistry, physical illness, injury & disability, ageing brains, too much stress, life changes, oppressive physical, social and cultural environments, abusive relationships and personality factors. Sometimes causes are difficult to identify and there does not have to be an obvious stressor for a person to be depressed.There are often a complex combination of causes and some people may be more vulnerable or more resilient to experiencing depression.
How is Depression Treated?
Different types of depression respond to different types of treatment. Therefore, it is important to have a thorough assessment by a suitably qualified and experienced medical or health professional to work out what treatment approach is best for you and this needs to be monitored over time. Effective treatment can involve medical intervention such as medication, psychological therapy/counselling, lifestyle changes, self help and complimentary therapies. Often a combination of these approaches is most helpful.
Is Medication Necessary?
Many people with depression can manage and recover from depression without ever using medication. However, some people do benefit from using medication and medication is usually an essential part of treatment for more biologically based depression and serious mood disorders. It may be required for psychological therapy to be effective. In such cases, it is no different from using medication to treat asthma, diabetes or other medical conditions. Medication is prescribed and monitored by medical practitioners (GPs or Psychiatrists), not by Psychologists.
Counselling & Psychological Therapy for Depression & Mood Disorders
I use evidence-based assessment, counselling and psychological therapies for depression and mood disorders, including cognitive behaviour therapy, schema therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy, mindfulness skills training, interpersonal therapy and emotion focused therapy.