What is Depression?

Depression is more than just feeling down, it is a mood state characterised by a sense of inadequacy, a feeling of despondency, a decrease in activity or reactivity, pessimism, sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. It is important to recognise that feeling down on occasion is a normal – and important – part of life. Sad and distressful events occur in everyone’s life, and responding to them emotionally is healthy.

Clinical Depression, the type of depression for which people need to seek help, is where any of the above characteristics are extreme, intense and begin to interfere with a person’s ability to function. Other symptoms may include:

  • A reduction in concentration and memory
  • Decision making problems
  • A urge to withdraw from others
  • A reduction in the enjoyment of previously pleasurable activities
  • A loss of appetite or overeating
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sex drive.
  • Neglect or self care

Clinical Depression can occur on its own or in conjunction with other psychological problems, for example, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What Causes Depression?

There is no single cause for depression but the following factors, or a combination of them, will increase your vulnerability:

  • Loneliness
  • Lack of social support
  • Recent stressful life experiences (such as death of a loved one, illness, divorce or abusive relationships)
  • Family history of depression
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Financial strain
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • Health problems or chronic pain

The metaphor of depression as a ‘black dog’ is now commonly used (in fact it was used by Winston Churchill), this following short film shows how challenging living with depression can be:

How Common is Depression? 

There are many ‘types’ of depression. The World Health Organisation (WHO) state that currently 40% of disability worldwide is due to depression and anxiety. The most recent Psychiatric Morbidity Survey indicates that there are some 6 million people in the UK (approximately 3 million with depression as their primary problem and 3 million with an anxiety disorder)

For information on other types of depression, please click below:

Post Natal Depression (PND)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

How Talking to Siobhan Can Help

CBT is one of the most effective treatments for conditions where anxiety or depression is the main problem. It is the most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression.

Siobhan will devise an idiosyncratic treatment plan, which is likely to include:

  • Psycho-education about depression (for example, information about the possible causes, factors that are maintaining the depression, and what treatment will involve)
  • Increasing pleasant activities and physical activity
  • Identifying and changing unhelpful negative thinking patterns that are causing the depression
  • Identifying and changing unhelpful behaviours (for example, social withdrawal, self- destructive behaviours, avoidance).
  • Increasing everyday coping skills (for example, problem-solving skills, strategies to regulate mood)
  • Planning for the future and preventing relapse