There is no single cause of depression and psychiatrists believe it is more likely to be a combination of different influences such as biological factors (genetics, hormones or a chemical imbalance) and environmental factors (traumatic life events or situations).
Ongoing depression can result in an inability to maintain relationships, social withdrawal or an increase in addictive behaviours or unhealthy coping mechanisms.
When the repercussions of depression begin to escalate, sufferers can become even more helpless and unable to see a way out of their situation.
If you or someone you know thinks they might be suffering from depression, common symptoms to look out for include:
The good news is there are treatments and recovery support available. There are a range of therapies and lifestyle improvements which, alone or in combination, can help to alleviate the symptoms of depression and help sufferers to come out of themselves and reconnect with the world.
Psychological treatments are about helping clients identify unhelpful thoughts and behaviours and change their thinking patterns so they are better able to cope with the stresses of life.
A treatment based on helping clients recognise that the way they think and act affects how they feel. It involves identifying those negative thought and behaviour patterns that make them more likely to be depressed and teaching them to change them to positive and realistic ones.
Like CBT, it helps clients to identify the negative thoughts and attitudes that lead to depression, but unlike CBT, it doesn’t teach them to change those thoughts, but rather teaches them to focus on other thoughts that are more pleasant and rewarding.
This treatment is normally given in groups and involves mindfulness meditation, which teaches clients to focus on the present moment. This can teach them to recognise the warning signs early and to prevent their minds from returning to unpleasant thoughts and feelings.
Treatments other than psychological therapies can sometimes be beneficial for sufferers of depression. These can be used alone or in conjunction with therapy and they include exercise and massage therapy.
Regular exercise can increase the brain’s serotonin levels, which regulate mood, sleep, libido and appetite, and increase the level of endorphins, which are known to have mood-elevating properties. Exercise can also increase energy, improve sleep, provide a social outlet, and increase a client’s sense of control and self-esteem.
Massage therapy is also thought to be beneficial for people suffering from depression because it reduces the levels of stress hormones in the brain such as adrenaline and cortisol which can trigger depression. It also produces chemical changes in the brain that result in a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing, which provides a distraction from negative thoughts and helps the client to focus on pleasant and positive emotions.
Our personal, tailored BioPsychoSocial programs are designed to empower you to deal with
issues in your life including: