Depression

Do you... ?

  • Feel tearful and have you lost interest in the things you used to enjoy?
  • Find you have feelings of lasting sadness and hopelessness?
  • Experience constant tiredness, have poor sleep and reduced appetite?
  • Find that these feelings do not go away?

What is Depression?

Depression is characterised by feeling sad, hopeless and a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. People with depression find their symptoms can persist for weeks or months and can interfere with work, social and family life. Symptoms include:

  • Continuous low mood or sadness
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Feeling tearful
  • Feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • Having no motivation or interest in things
  • Finding it hard to make decisions
  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • Having suicidal thoughts or feelings of harming yourself
  • Disturbed sleep (struggling to get off to or stay asleep, or sleeping too much)
  • Changes in weight and/or appetite
  • Feeling anxious

Your symptoms may cause you to withdraw from social contact (seeing your family and friends). You may also find going to work difficult and stressful and may take time off sick. These actions can make you feel worse about yourself and increase your lack of self-esteem and lower your mood.

How common is it?

Depression is quite common and affects approximately 1 in 10 adults. It affects both men and women, and people of any age – including children and older adults.

What can I do about it?

NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have recommended three main treatments for depression; these are Guided Self Help, Psychological Therapy and medication.

Guided Self-Help options

We offer a number of guided self help interventions for managing Depression. These include:

  • Improve Your Mood course where you can learn strategies for managing feelings of low mood and depression
  • Guided self help, where a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner will guide you through techniques to help you improve feelings of low mood and depression
  • Recommended Self Help Books and Resources. Some people find that reading about depression can help them deal with their condition. There are many books based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). These may help you understand your psychological problems better and learn ways to overcome them by changing your behaviour.

Psychological Therapies

Different types of therapies are available for people with low mood and depression. These include:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy involves looking at the way in which your thinking and behaviour may affect your mood. Treatment can be offered in one-to-one sessions or in a group.
  • Interpersonal Therapy is a time-limited and structured approach to the treatment of depression. Its central idea is that psychological symptoms, such as depressed mood, can be understood as a response to current difficulties in relationships and affect the quality of those relationships. By addressing interpersonal situations, improvements to both relationships and depressive mood can be found.
  • Counselling may be offered within our service or we may direct you towards free or low cost counselling options in the borough of Kingston if we feel this would best meet your needs.
  • Behavioural Couples Therapy for people who have a regular partner and where the relationship may be linked to the depression, or where involving the partner may be of potential therapeutic benefit.
  • Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy helps you understand the connection between your depression symptoms and what is happening in your relationships by looking at patterns that can be traced back to your childhood.

If you would like to know more about Guided Self Help or Psychological Therapy, please contact us.

Alternatively, you may wish to speak to your GP about a referral to our service.

How can I help myself?

Useful self help strategies for managing low mood and depression include:

Exercise: regular exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, will help you combat low mood and improve motivation. It also encourages your brain to release the chemical serotonin, which can improve your mood. Aim to do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Moderate exercise should make you feel slightly out of breath and tired. Going for a brisk walk is a good example.

Relaxation: as well as getting regular exercise, learning how to relax is important. You may find relaxation and breathing exercises helpful, or you may prefer activities such as yoga or pilates to help you unwind.

Diet: changing your diet may help ease your symptoms. Eating too little or too much may affect your energy levels and eating healthily is as important for your mental health as it is for your physical health. If you are tired and run down, you are less likely to be able to control your depressive feelings.

Smoking and drinking: Although it can be tempting to smoke or drink to make you feel better, in the long run it will make things worse. Drink alcohol in moderation and, if you smoke, try to give up. The NHS provides free support to people who would like to stop smoking.

Understanding your depression: some people find that reading about depression can help them deal with their condition. There are many books based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). These may help you understand your psychological problems better and learn ways to overcome them by changing your behaviour. To find out more about recommended books click here Link out to BOP scheme

Acknowledgement of references