Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders in Australia. Each year, approximately 1 million Australian adults will go through depression (Beyond Blue, 2016). There are many underlying factors that may contribute to depression including genetic, biological, psychological, social and environmental factors. Triggers for depression can include stress, major life trauma and life changes. Living with a chronic disease, such as a debilitating illness, heart disease or cancer, can increase the risk of depression, as can a family history of depression.
Seeking help from a Psychologist or Counsellor
Our team of psychologists and counsellors, located on the Sunshine Coast, Sydney and Newcastle, work with their clients to understand the factors that might be contributing to depression and develop a tailored treatment plan. There are many specialised forms of psychological treatments for depression, which effectively improve symptoms and help reduce the likelihood of depression in the future. Mindfulness, relaxation therapies, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Short-Term Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (STPP) are some of the therapies that may be utilised.
Our psychologists work with their clients to help them find ways to accept, adapt or change situations that contribute to depression; identify unhelpful behaviours and/or thought processes; implement strategies to cope with stress and manage symptoms of depression, and set realistic goals. This can lead to recovery and enables our clients to feel and function at their best.
Depression affects different people in different ways.
Generally, depression can cause a combination of the following:
- Withdrawal from socialising
- Loss of interest in activities that once brought joy
- Feeling guilty, worthless, helpless or hopeless
- Prolonged and intense feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Irritability, anger and restlessness
- Changes to appetite
- Changes to sleep (e.g. insomnia or oversleeping)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fluctuating weight
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- Bodily pain, such as headaches
Depression in Children and Adolescents
About 1 in 35 Australians aged 4-17 experience a depressive disorder so it is vital to look out for signs of depression in children and adolescents, including: poor performance at school, extremely low motivation, irritability, withdrawal from socialising, persistent sadness, drug and alcohol abuse, and engaging in risk-taking behaviours. Antidepressant medications can cause side effects in young people, so for that reason it is widely encouraged that psychology therapies are the first line of treatment for depression in children and adolescents (medication may be required in some cases). Fortunately, most children and adolescents recover from depression. Early intervention is imperative in preventing the recurrence of depression later in life.
How is Depression treated?
A range of treatments are effective in the treatment of depression. The most common therapies are lifestyle and dietary changes, social support networks, psychological therapies and medication.
It is important to know that you are not alone as there are many health professionals and organisations that can assist. Some people find a lot of benefit with the support from one health professional; while other people prefer working with a small team of health professionals for different aspects of their treatment. Everyone is different, and it is important that you find the treatment path that suits you and your needs.
Whilst depression is often viewed as a ‘mental’ health disorder, it is important to consider other factors such as diet, digestive health and genetic influences. Research is confirming links between depression + diet, depression + the microbiome, and depression + nutrient deficiencies. Our team of health professionals ensure that no stone is left unturned by addressing these factors where necessary. This is assessed and discussed with the client and ensures the most comprehensive approach to treatment.
We would be humbled to help you. You do not need a referral from your doctor to book an appointment with us, however, doing so may attract a medicare rebate. Please contact us for more information about this.