CBT for DEPRESSION
Depression is very different to feeling “fed up”. Ups and downs in life are common and normal. Most people recover quickly. With clinical depression, you have a low mood and other symptoms each day for at least two weeks. Symptoms can also become severe enough to interfere with normal day-to-day activities. CBT can help you overcome your depression.
WHO GETS DEPRESSION?
Depression is common, 2 in 3 adults have depression at some time in their life. It can be mild and last a few weeks or it can be serious enough to require treatment. It occurs in about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men at some point in their lives. Some people have two or more episodes of depression at times in their life.
What are the symptoms of depression?
There are a number of symptoms that indicate that you may be depressed:
• Persistent sadness or low mood continuously for the last 2 weeks
• Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities, even for activities that you normally enjoy.
• Other common symptoms:
• Disturbed sleep compared with your usual pattern. This may be difficulty in getting off to sleep, or waking early and being unable to get back to sleep
• Change in appetite. This is often a poor appetite and weight loss. Sometimes the reverse happens with comfort eating and weight gain.
• Fatigue (tiredness) or loss of energy.
• Agitation or slowing of movements.
• Poor concentration or indecisiveness.
• Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
• Recurrent thoughts of death. This is not usually a fear of death, more a preoccupation with death and dying.
To receive a diagnosis of depression:
• You have at least five out of the above nine symptoms, with at least one of the core symptom
• Symptoms must cause you distress or impair your normal functioning, such as affecting your work
• Symptoms occur most of the time on most days and have lasted at least two weeks
• The symptoms are not due to a medication side-effect, or due to drug or alcohol misuse, or to a physical condition such as an underactive thyroid or pituitary gland
WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?
An episode of depression can be triggered by life events such as a relationship problem, bereavement, redundancy, illness, etc. In many people it is a mixture of the two.. This can lead to patterns of negative thinking and a gradual withdrawal from normal behaviour. A combination of events and life stress can then spiral down into depression.
Women tend to develop depression more often than men. Particularly common times for women to become depressed are after childbirth (postnatal depression) and the menopause.
Depression can run in families so genetics can play a part. Also a chemical imbalance in the brain might be a factor. This is not fully understood. However, an alteration in some chemicals in the brain is thought to be the reason why antidepressants work in treating depression.
TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been shown to highly effective as a treatment for depression.
It is recommended by NICE as the treatment of choice. It targets the changes in thinking and behaviour through a shared understanding of the problem and a series of tools and techniques to modify the thoughts and behaviours. This leads to a spiralling up and out of the depression. CBT will also tackle past events that have led to the depression e.g. traumatic experiences that may have had a negative impact. A programme of CBT for depression trains you to be your own therapist, more able to deal with life and the stresses that effect you. It has also been shown to be helpful at preventing relapse.
Medication can also be helpful for some people especially when the depression is severe. Modern anti-depressants (SSRIs) tend to have fewer side effects and normally take 2-6 weeks to have some effect. The evidence for the use of medication shows they are not good at preventing relapse once someone stops using them.
If you need help with overcoming depression then please contact us to discuss your problems or to book an assessment