What is Depression?
Depression is NEVER your fault. And one of the most frustrating things about it is that you don’t know why.
You might not know why you feel depressed or why you can’t stop it. And, other people often don’t get it either.
It is normal that this might happen to you. It is part of the human condition. In truth, I believe that every single one of us is capable of struggling with depression at some times in our lives.
Statistics about the number of people who suffer with depression show us is that we aren’t that good at preventing it. Fortunately, science is getting better at responding to it. Despite the dominance of the bio-medical model in the treatment of mental health problems, there remains no evidence that depression is anyway a medical problem. So, to think of it as a disease or an illness is not that accurate or helpful.
In fact, CBT, Mindfulness & ACT out perform medication when it comes to treating depression and anxiety (2006). And, recent reviews of the effectiveness of anti-depressant medication, have shown that it is no more effective than placebo.
What is depression?
Feeling low and confused are indications that you might be suffering from depression. Depression can be different for different people. Some suffer sleepless nights, while others can sleep nearly all the time. Some people struggle to do anything, whilst others have very busy lives. The point is that depression doesn’t wear one jacket.
There are some common features of depression as well. See if you recognise any of these:
• thoughts like “what’s the point?”
• feeling irritable and frustrated
• Feeling lonely and different to those around you
• loss of energy and enthusiasm
• loss of pleasure in different areas of your life
• activities seem like much more effort
• restless and more prone to anxiety
What causes depression?
The causes of depression are varied. It may be due to circumstances from when you were younger e.g. your mum or dad were depressed growing up or your weren’t looked after well enough. But not everyone who suffers with depression had these experiences. In fact, depression is quite normal. Many people will at some point in their lives experience depressed feelings.
Depression is normal. To understand why are you struggling with depression, it is useful to look at your life experiences and how you have dealt with them.
To get caught up in depression is a flaw of the human mind. Your mind (and everyone else’s) develops patterns of thinking that can worsen your mood and determine how you cope. For example, you may have developed the thought “no one understands how I feel”. This lowers your mood and you tend to keep your distance from people. This pattern of thoughts, feelings and behaviours is one example of a vicious cycle that develops during depressed states.
The depressed mind behaves differently, processing information in ways that is more likely to make you depressed. CBT helps you to recognise your own patterns and to learn skills that will help you reduce the impact of these natural traps.
What’s the proof therapy can help?
Two studies, one in 2006 and another in 2010, showed that an intervention called behavioural activation significantly reduced depression and increased psychological well-being. Behavioural activation is a technique used in CBT and ACT that focuses on changing what you do to alleviate depression.
A study in 2012 showed that many people benefit from using scientifically driven self-help without the need for direct contact with a therapist. This is why we’re developing a guided course in our library for members to use when they need it.
Another study in 2015 showed that ACT significantly increases a flourishing in individuals who are suffering with depression. Whilst studies in 2013 and 2014 showed that ACT using online tools with additional support from a therapist reduced depression and increased a person’s health and ability to work.
- Depression is normal and can effect anybody
- Anti-depressant medication is no more effective than a placebo
- It effects people differently, but many people will feel low in energy and mood
- Depression can happen because you’ve been through difficult life events
- Depression can occur because you’ve learned to numb out from painful feelings
If you’ve liked this article, please share it and leave a comment below.
To speak to a therapist, please fill in the form below. We will contact you within the next 24 hours.