What is it
Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in Australia with just under 1 million Australians experiencing a depressive disorder in any year (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2008). Depression can affect people of all ages with the onset often related to stressful life events or situations (ABS, 2008). Depression may reoccur over a person’s life and may impact many areas of their life including employment, housing and social support (ABS, 2008).
It is normal for people to experience periods of low mood, however if you have experienced low mood that varies little from day to day and has lasted longer than two weeks then you may be experiencing depression.
What it includes
Depression is characterized by a number of emotional, cognitive, behavioural and physical symptoms including (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):
- Low mood, feeling “blue” or teary
- Reduced energy
- Decreased activity levels which may include social withdrawal
- Reduced capacity for enjoyment and decreased interest
- Reduced concentration
- Becoming easily fatigued
- Changes in sleep including waking during the night, waking early in the morning and/or feeling unrested in the morning
- Changes in appetite which may result in weight gain or weight loss
- Reduced self-esteem and self-confidence
- Ideas of guilt or worthlessness
- Loss of libido
- Thoughts of suicide
If you have been suffering from a number of these symptoms it might be a sign that you could benefit from professional support.
How a psychologist can help
Depression is treatable and you don’t have to go through it on your own. A psychologist can help you engage in a number of evidence-based treatments for depression including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) or Behavioural Couples Therapy for people who have a regular partner (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence [NICE], 2010).
Your therapist is likely to assess the severity, impairment and duration of your symptoms through both verbal assessment and standardised measures. They will help you understand what made you vulnerable to depression, challenge thinking patterns and behaviours that are maintaining your depression, and help you develop skills to manage your mood and work towards life goals.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007. Cat. no. (4326.0). Canberra: ABS.
NICE (2010). Depression: the treatment and management of depression in adults (update). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22132433
If you require additional information, please call our office on 07 3256 6320. Our mental health focused reception staff will be only too happy to assist you with your enquiry about our service and can suggest the most suitable Psychologist for your concern.