It is normal to feel sad and low from time to time, especially when there is an easily identified reason for your sadness. Depression, however, is a mental illness whereby an individual feels sadness or low mood that persists over a long period of time, usually for a period of weeks or months.

Depression

It is normal to feel sad and low from time to time, especially when there is an easily identified reason for your sadness. Depression, however, is a mental illness whereby an individual feels sadness or low mood that persists over a long period of time, usually for a period of weeks or months. It is characterised by feelings of tiredness, withdrawal, low motivation, loss of hope as well as other emotional and behavioural changes. Depression can negatively impact on relationships and employment, and because of this, it should be addressed as it arises.

Most individuals attend psychological therapy or counselling for support with depression after many months or even years of feeling low. Whilst it is great to take the first step to seek support from professionals for depression at any time, it is best to contact a professional at the earliest signs of depression. Prolonging the symptoms and experience of depression can be destructive to oneself and external relationships.

Many individuals report feeling ‘stuck’ in their low mood, and at a loss of what to do to improve it. They have attempted a number of things to improve their mood, including taking a holiday, having a break, reading books, or watching a movie, but have not found a way that offers a longer-term improvement. It can feel like an endless cycle of frustration, sadness and loss of hope.

At New Vision Psychology, professional psychologists and counsellors work with clients to find long-term strategies to improve feelings of depression. There are many different treatment options and resources available. The psychologists and counsellors at New Vision Psychology work to understand the underlying cause of your depression and provide evidence-based support (scientifically proven) to alleviate depressive symptoms.

It is also important to note that the experience of depression is not limited to adults. Depression can be prominent in young people, especially those experiencing periods of transition, such as moving school or going through parental separation and divorce.

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Reasons for Depression

Usually, there is no one cause of depression. Reasons for depression are complex and varied, and are generally caused by a number of factors, and usually long-term issues. These include long-term relationship issues, isolation, unemployment, financial stress, health decline – stressors that over time reduce our resilience to cope.

Sometimes specific life events can trigger a period of depression, for example, the loss of a loved-one, a breakdown in a relationship, loss of a job, health concerns and sudden trauma (accidental, or violence perpetrated by others).

Depression can range from experiencing between mild, moderate and major depressive symptoms. In extreme cases, people who experience depression can be at risk of self-harm or suicide.

Psychologists and counsellors at New Vision Psychology are clinically trained to work with clients experiencing the range of depressive presentations. New Vision Psychology works with psychological treatments that are evidence-based interventions (scientifically proven), and work holistically with your medical team (with GPs, Psychiatrists, specialists, etc) to provide complete care.

It is important to know that all types of depression are treatable. Please contact New Vision Psychology to discuss your personal situation, and ask how we can assist you.

Types of Depression

People experience different types of depression including;

Major Depression/Major Depressive Disorder: the most common type of depression, it is a mood disorder and can be described as severe, moderate or mild.

Postnatal/Antenatal/Perinatal Depression: Depression experienced during pregnancy (antenatal) or following the birth of a child (post-natal). With a combination of hormonal fluctuations, distress, fatigue and general adjustment to parenthood, the period before and after birth increases the vulnerability to developing depression. Depression can impact on a parent’s relationship with their child and family.

Melancholia– a severe depression with strong biological links, with a loss in pleasure and feelings of despair.

Psychotic Depression – the experience of severe depression coupled with the presence of delusions and hallucinations.

Dysthymia – mild but persistent depression lasting for two years or more.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – symptoms of depression associated with changes in weather and seasons. The exact cause of SAD is debated. It is thought to be not as commonly experienced in Australia due to the warmer climate.

Cyclothymic Disorder– mild form of bipolar disorder whereby an individual’s mood fluctuates between hypomania and depressive symptoms within short periods of time.

Bipolar Disorder– a medical condition whereby the individual goes through extreme alternating periods of depression and elation (mania). Manic episodes may last at least seven days and in some cases, hospital care is needed to manage the symptoms and risk factors. Symptoms of mania include racing thoughts, irritability, talking fast and having excessive energy bursts.

Symptoms of Depression:

  • unable to get out of bed.
  • sadness, without necessarily knowing why.
  • sense of hopelessness.
  • anxiety.
  • crying frequently.
  • difficulty with concentration.
  • low motivation.
  • thoughts of suicide.
  • loss of interest in activities that used to bring enjoyment.
  • social withdrawal.
  • difficult to complete daily tasks (e.g. making breakfast, having a shower, washing clothes).
  • frequently feeling irritable.
  • persistent low mood.
  • indecision.
  • Lethargy, i.e. always feeling tired.
  • thoughts of worthlessness, and being a failure.
  • feeling that nothing good will ever happen to you

How counselling with New Vision Psychology can help:

  • Help you to focus on what is in your control, rather than focusing on what is out of your control. This will help with being effective and feeling empowered.
  • challenge negative thought patterns that create low mood and a sense of hopelessness.
  • Become aware of what is important to you, such that you can make immediate goals consistent with what is important.
  • make choices in line with personal values.
  • learn to manage stress in a helpful way, rather than ways that are destructive.
  • Identify personal goals.
  • assist in taking immediate action to improve your situation.
  • identify negative thought patterns that self-defeat.
  • identify unrealistic thought patterns that get in the way of pursuing goals.
  • New Vision Psychology uses evidence-based interventions (scientifically proven) to work with your depression

Through understanding the causes of depression, types of depression and symptoms to look out for, individuals can seek effective treatment from mental health professionals at New Vision Psychology. With the right treatment and support services, individuals can tackle mental health problems and find actionable solutions.

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Depression is very common in the community. The types of depression include Major Depression, Post-Natal Depression, Dysthymia, as well as others.

The most common diagnosis is ‘Major Depression’, and can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. This is characterised by periods of more than two weeks of feeling low mood, lack of motivation, difficulty with completing tasks and other symptoms.

Post-Natal Depression is the term used to describe the experience of depression within the first year of childbirth. The causes of post-natal depression are varied, and can include biological changes as well as the environmental changes occurring following the birth a child.

Dysthymia is the long term (more than two years) experience of mild levels of depression. Because of the mild symptoms, clients can experience Dysthymia for many years without realising that they may be suffering from a condition.

Depression can be treated through the following:

  • psychological therapies (such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness, Solutions Fo-cussed Therapy and Psycho-education);
  • medication (such as anti-depressants prescribed by a GP or psychiatrist) and;
  • lifestyle changes (such as recommendations to increase exercise, socialise, eating healthier or start a hobby).

A combination of these treatments may be recommended to best suit a client’s situation.

Your GP or Psychiatrist, along with your treatment team (such as a psychologist or other mental health practitioner) will consult with you about the benefits of medication to treat depression.

The decision to prescribe medication is made after considering the severity and duration of the depression, and whether the client has responded to non-medicinal treatment.

As with all medication, there are risks and side-effects. Your doctor will discuss this with you so that you can make an informed choice to use medicine.

Case Studies

Matt has attended three sessions of counselling to work on his depression. Prior to counselling, Matt had identified that he has long term issues with self-confidence and self-esteem, with thoughts that ‘he is not good enough’, and fears that people do not like him.

Through therapeutic methods such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and daily Mindfulness exercises, Matt has become more aware on a deeper level of his negative thoughts about himself, and how they impact on his daily mood and behaviour.

For example, Matt has begun to notice that if his manager doesn’t say ‘hi’ to him in the morning, this can set him up to be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. He will then be preoccupied with trying to make his manager ‘like him’, by giving compliments or trying to strike a positive conversation.

With Matt’s growing awareness of his feelings of low self-esteem and how it impact on him, he is now in a better position to make choices about what he thinks and how he behaves. Future sessions will work on Matt actively challenging his unhelpful and unrealistic thoughts about himself.