What is Depression?
In Australia, Depression is most commonly described as a feeling of sadness. People often refer to this medical condition as a 'mood disorder'. Depressed individuals experience an extended period of sadness or a negative mood, rather than a brief reaction of sadness to a stressful or difficult situation. In a depressed state, the brain and body do not function as well as they would in a non-depressed state.
Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. In 2018, approximately 2.5 million people, almost 10% of the Australian population, were reported to be living with depression.
Educating yourself about depression and other mental health conditions is necessary when trying to understand family and friends, as well as other individuals, with depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression can be categorised into three states, depending on the number and severity of symptoms. The Mild condition consists of temporary bouts of sadness and other symptoms, such as anger and hopelessness, that do not last for a long period. The Moderate manifests through reoccurring instances of sadness and worthlessness that heightens insecurities. Severe depression or Clinical Depression, also sometimes known as Major Depression or Major Depressive Disorder, includes all symptoms of Mild and Moderate depression, together with delusions, hallucinations, and thoughts of suicide. People suffering from Clinical Depression often find it hard to concentrate and think rationally.
Generally, the signs and symptoms of most depression types are:
- A sad or irritable mood.
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities, including those that were once pleasurable.
- Unplanned weight loss.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia.
- Drug and alcohol dependency.
- Reduced energy.
- Feelings of guilt.
- Poor concentration.
- Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide.
As a result of these symptoms, individuals with depression find it difficult to undertake their usual daily living activities.
What Causes Depression?
Many factors can contribute to an individual developing depression. It is not always a single cause. A stressful and challenging circumstance, such as the loss of a loved one, failure in school or work, social pressures, changes in lifestyle or experiencing familial and financial problems can trigger this mental health condition. Other causes include the following:
- Personality and genetic vulnerabilities.
- Childhood experiences and trauma.
- Poor lifestyle choices such as alcohol, drugs or poor nutrition.
- Postnatal period.
- Other mental health conditions.
Treatments for Depression
Psychological therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), have proven to be most effective for general anxiety, as they focus on changing negative thought patterns and behaviours.
Wellness and Recovery Centre
- Mood and Anxiety Recovery Program (MARP)
The Mood and Anxiety Program is designed to assist people with a range of emotional and mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety. It can assist individuals with support to challenge unhelpful thoughts that are preventing them from reaching their goals or living their life. For more information, click here.
The recovery rates for depression are very positive and effective treatment is available.