Depression is a disorder that involves the body, mood and thoughts, and can affect the way you feel about yourself, the way you eat and sleep, and the way you think about things. It is quite normal for most people to feel a little down or pessimistic from time to time. It is important to realise that depression is not a sign of weakness and that it is not easy for the depressed person to 'pull themselves together' and get better by themselves. Without any form of treatment the symptoms can often go on for months or years.
Anti-depressant medications, on a doctor’s prescription, are very helpful in addressing the imbalances in brain chemistry which occur in the depressed mind. However, it is my experience, both as a former pharmacist and a former sufferer of depression, that medication is not necessarily a permanent solution to the problem. The problem lies in the way we think; and the way we think is what causes that chemical imbalance in the first place. To change the way we feel, we must change the way we think. Of course, when you are depressed, that's much easier said than done! That's where therapy can help.
What is depression?
We all go through spells of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and it may even feel sometimes as if life isn't worth living.
What are the symptoms of depression?
The symptoms vary between individuals, but typically include anxiety, insomnia, lasting feelings of sadness or hopelessness and loss of interest in things you used to enjoy doing. A fairly comprehensive list of possible symptoms can be found by following this link.
How is depression diagnosed and treated?
Remember only a doctor is qualified to diagnose depression, so that should be your first port of call if you think you may be suffering. Medication may be prescribed, which is designed to correct some of the “chemical imbalances” which occur in the brain during depression. Although this does not “cure” depression, it can greatly relieve the symptoms and make therapy a lot quicker and easier. It is only by therapy that the underlying thought processes can be amended and the depression truly defeated.
How long does it take to feel better?
The time taken to feel better depends on how bad the symptoms are and how long the patient has suffered them. Typically an average of eight to twelve sessions of therapy may be needed to break the cycle of depressive thoughts and remove the associated anxiety. Feel free to contact me via my web site or by telephone if you would like to know more detail, or to arrange a free introductory consultation.