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Depression

Find joy in life once more

Depression

Over three million Australians live with depression. It is a serious condition that is characterised by a persistently low mood. People with depression may feel sad, lost, angry, numb or drained for for weeks, months or even years at a time. It is a condition that not only seriously affects mental health but also physical health.

Although the reason for depression may not always be obvious, there are certain circumstances in which the risk of experiencing this condition is increased. People who are more vulnerable to developing depressive symptoms include youth, the elderly, men, women who are pregnant or have recently given birth, people in the LGBTQIA+ community, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, any life circumstances or stressors can contribute to person becoming depressed. It is a mental health concern that can be experienced by anyone, regardless of age, gender, socio-economic position, cultural background or history.

Symptoms of Depression

​The symptoms of depression vary from mild to debilitating. Sometimes symptoms will resolve on their own but often they feel all-consuming. Symptoms include:
  • Persistent low mood
  • Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Changes in sleeping habits (sleeping too much or too little)
  • Change in eating habits (loss of appetite or eating too much)
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability

Depression is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of mental health concerns.

Major or clinical depression is the condition that is most frequently referenced, where a persistent low mood is present, often with a loss of interest in usual activities.

Melancholia is a severe form of depression. It has many physical symptoms, including the slowing down of movement. Another symptom is the complete loss of pleasure in almost all aspects of life.

Psychotic depression is a disorder where the individual loses touch with reality and experiences psychosis including hallucinations and delusions. They can also experience feelings of paranoia.

Antenatal and postnatal depression refers to depression that women may experience during pregnancy or after the birth of a child. This can have a detrimental effect on her self worth, her relationship with her baby and her relationship with her partner. It is important to note that men can experience antenatal and postnatal depression as well.

Bipolar disorder is a condition where an individual will experience periods of low mood and depression, as well as periods of mania. Mania can be characterised by high mood and energy, racing thoughts and speech, little need for sleep, trouble concentrating and irritability. An individual may experience this state for an extended period of time and may also experience psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions.

Cyclothymic disorder is similar to bipolar disorder but the depressive and manic episodes are somewhat milder and less frequent.

Dysthymic disorder is similar to major depression, however the symptoms are less severe, yet last longer.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression which comes and goes during different seasons but continues the pattern for several years. Symptoms may include periods of depression or mania, lethargy, over-sleeping, over-eating and weight gain. SAD depression is thought to be linked to light exposure. It is rare in Australia and more likely to be diagnosed in the Northern Hemisphere.

Depression can sometimes be difficult to recognise in yourself. You may acknowledge that you are not in a good place but your current circumstances may be so overwhelming that you can’t see a different kind of future. However, it is important to know that help is available and it is effective. The earlier you seek support, the better.

Support for depression at Create Balance

The approachable, respectful and empathetic therapists at Create Balance Psychotherapy and Counselling can assist you to make sense of the way you’re feeling and gain a positive and hopeful perspective. They use a range of therapeutic interventions, depending on the type of depression you’re experiencing and the unique factors that may be contributing to your challenging mental health. Commonly used interventions include attachment based therapy, mindfulness based therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

Don’t let depression prevent you from doing the things you once loved. Reaching out is the first step to healing and regaining the joy you deserve.