“Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
― Stephen Fry —
You Can Overcome Depression. Know That You’re Not Alone in Your Journey.
A case of the blues should not persist. If you feel unhappy, unmotivated and low on energy most of the time, don’t allow the negativity to increase and overwhelm you. Act soon and seek help, as most depressive disorders can be successfully treated.
Globally, 1 in 3 or 246 million people live with depression
Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression
3 million Australians are living with depression or anxiety
Nearly 50% of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder
(Source: World Health Organization)
Watch out for these symptoms of depression
A constant feeling of sadness or regret, and not feeling up to anything that used to earlier make you happy
A constant feeling of unworthiness and a loss of any sense of pride – maybe people around you have to keep reminding you that you or your work is important to them
The way you feel is contributing to poor sleep patterns, sleeplessness, a weak or unhealthy appetite, and/or a sedentary life
You have thought of ending your life a few times – it doesn’t take long for suicidal thoughts to encourage active suicidal ideation
Our holistic approach to treatment for depression
There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach for treating depression, and it’s different for everyone. However there are a range of effective treatments which can help you on the road to recovery.
Psychiatric treatment for depression
If you are experiencing moderate to severe depression our psychiatrists may prescribe antidepressant medication, along with psychological treatments. There is a lot of misinformation about antidepressant medication and while there is no simple explanation as to how it works, it can be very useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety disorders.
In more severe cases, our psychiatrists may recommend Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT). Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be used to treat a range of mental health conditions including depression, bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders. It is an effective treatment and is used when your illness has not responded well to medications or when taking medication causes too many unwanted side effects. ECT can provides rapid relief from your depressive symptoms. It is usually given three times per week for four weeks. The actual length of the course is determined by how you respond to the treatment. To maintain the positive effects, you may require ongoing treatment that allows the frequency of ECT to be gradually withdrawn.
If you require hospitalisation and care, our psychiatrists can refer you to our affiliated St John of God Burwood Hospital.
Psychological intervention for depression
Psychological treatments can help you change your thinking patterns and improve your coping skills so you’re better equipped to deal with life’s stresses and conflicts. As well as supporting your recovery, psychological therapies can also help you stay well by identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviour.
There are several types of effective psychological treatments for depression, as well as different delivery options:
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
CBT is a structured psychological treatment which recognises that the way we think (cognition) and act (behaviour) affects the way we feel. CBT is one of the most effective treatments for depression, and has been found to be useful for a wide range of ages, including children, adolescents, adults and older people.
CBT involves working with a clinician, usually a psychologist, to identify thought and behaviour patterns that are either making you more likely to become depressed, or stopping you from getting better when you’re experiencing depression.
It works to change your thoughts and behaviour by teaching you to think rationally about common difficulties, helping you to shift negative or unhelpful thought patterns and reactions to a more realistic, positive and problem-solving approach.
While behaviour therapy is a major component of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), unlike CBT it doesn’t attempt to change beliefs and attitudes. Instead it focuses on encouraging activities that are rewarding, pleasant or satisfying, aiming to reverse the patterns of avoidance, withdrawal and inactivity that make depression worse.
Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
MBCT involves a type of meditation called ‘mindfulness meditation’. This teaches you to focus on the present moment – just noticing whatever you’re experiencing, whether it’s pleasant or unpleasant – without trying to change it. At first, this approach is used to focus on physical sensations (like breathing), but then moves on to feelings and thoughts.
MBCT can help to stop your mind wandering off into thoughts about the future or the past, and avoid unpleasant thoughts and feelings. This is thought to be helpful in preventing depression from returning because it encourages you to notice feelings of sadness and negative thinking patterns early on, before they become fixed. As a result, you’re able to deal with warning signs earlier and more effectively.