Are you somebody who is dealing with stress or depression? Does it effect your day to day life? Here is some helpful information you will be interested in.

What is Depression

The majority of people have ups and downs. Sometimes you can feel a little low, this may be for many reasons, for example; the loss of a loved one. People may state that they feel depressed, this however does not mean they are suffering from depression. Depression is a long lasting low mood that will affect your day to day life. It will stop you feeling any pleasure and you will not be interested in any activities such as socialising and/or attending an event.

Depression is noticed and experienced worldwide. It is a common illness that effects around 1 in 10 of us. It is possible for anyone to suffer with depression however, not everyone will. There are treatments available for depression, we will talk about those later on.

It is not something that you can ‘snap-out of’ it is also not a sign of weakness. It is also something that does not last forever. Depression is one of the most common mental illness’ worldwide. It is experiencing feelings of severe despondency and dejection.Symptom of depression include;     1
  • A depressed mood during the majority of the day, especially mornings
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost everyday
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt most days
  • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) most days
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
  • A sense of restlessness or agitation
  • Significant weight loss or gain.
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
People who suffer with depression don’t all have the same symptoms; each case of depression is different from how severe the depression or symptoms are to how long they last or vary. It all depends on the individual and their particular illness. The symptoms can also occur in patterns.It is possible for depression to effect children. It is different from the usual ‘blues’ and everyday emotions a child will feel as they develop. If your child feels sad this does not mean they have significant depression, it is when the sadness becomes persistent day after day. If your child has disruptive behaviour that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork, or family life, it may indicate that they have a depressive illness.Who Does It Effect?Depression can effect anyone – any age, any gender, any ethnicity at any time. It does not only effect the person suffering with the mental illness, it also effects family, friends and others who care about the depressed. They feel they want to help and it may also upset them that they have to see the depressed in such a low state. It is said that women are twice as more likely to be effected by depression compared to men. Children and the elderly can also be diagnosed with depression. It is also said that people aged in their mid-thirties are at the average age where depression develops. It then increases as the person gets older.Statistics
  • The NHS estimates that 4% of children aged between 5-16 years old have depression.
  • Between 2003-2013 it was recorded that 18,220 people with a mental health problem took their own life in the UK alone. – ‘Mental Health Foundation’
  • Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to ischemic heart disease. – ‘Mental Health Foundation’
  • Around one in ten people are diagnosed with depression in their lifetime – ‘Rethink Mental Illness’
  • Around six million people are affected by late life depression, only 10% however receive treatment.
  • Up to 80% of those treated for depression show an improvement in their symptoms generally within four to six weeks of beginning medication, psychotherapy, attending support groups or a combination of these treatments. (National Institute of Health 1998)
  • Untreated depression is the number one risk for suicide among youth. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds and the fourth leading cause of death in 10 to 14 year olds. Young males age 15 to 24 are at highest risk for suicide, with a ratio of males to females at 7:1. (American Association of Suicidology, 1996)
Depression can often co-occur with other illness’ & medical conditions. Examples are;
  • Cancer: 25% of cancer patients experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002)
  • Strokes: 10-27% of post-stroke patients experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002)
  • Heart attacks: 1 in 3 heart attack survivors experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002)
  • HIV: 1 in 3 HIV patients may experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002)
  • Parkinson's Disease: 50% of Parkinson's disease patients may experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002)
  • Eating disorders: 50-75% of eating disorder patients (anorexia and bulimia) experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1999)
  • Substance use: 27% of individuals with substance abuse disorders (both alcohol and other substances) experience depression. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1999)
  • Diabetes: 8.5-27% of persons with diabetes experience depression. (Rosen and Amador, 1996)
Examples of People with Depression“Yes, she is smiling but don’t let that fool you, look into her eyes, she’s breaking inside”- Anonymous. “There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” ― Laurell K. HamiltonMistral's Kiss “That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end.” ― Elizabeth WurtzelProzac Nation How Can it be Treated?The AOC can help you if you are suffering from depression. We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with depression The AOC offer two main forms of treatment in the forms of dramatherapy and integrative counselling. combines a session or group that uses creative media with a confidential, therapeutic space to address thoughts, emotions and to explore past and present traumas. This combination offers all the benefits of a therapeutic and supportive environment. The dramatherapist may use stories, drama, movement, poetry, music and games in combination or isolation to meet the aims, needs and preferences of the individual group.Clients suffering with depression may have already tried different methods of therapy. Dramatherapy offers a new way of looking at things and a creative outlet, moving away from thinking and discussing problems into expressing emotions through creative media. Not relying on words can help clients who are struggling to express themselves or have not benefited from more verbal therapies. The therapeutic environment can allow clients who are struggling with communication and relationships explore these with an empathic and supportive therapist, one to one or in a group, this is tailored to the client’s needs/ 2Dramatherapy works with the part of the client that is functioning and well; building self-esteem, retaining a sense of empowerment over oneself and promotion independence.” It didn’t seem enough to only thank you in person for allowing me to sit in and observe your dramatherapy group, I wanted to thank you in writing also, as I really believe your drama group session is such a brilliant experience.  I personally experienced the light go on within me as to what person centred care is really about.  I sincerely hope you will invite me to future dramatherapy sessions so I can observe and learn more.”- J. Johnson. 2013.Integrative CounsellingIntegrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances.Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood - no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other - hence the need to integrate them.The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person's personality and needs - integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works - tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.Other treatments are also available to you as follows;The first step to getting treatment is to see your GP. If your GP thinks you have depression, they will talk to you about the treatments they can offer. Talking therapiesTalking therapy is available on the NHS, from private healthcare providers and sometimes from charities. You will meet a trained therapist for a fixed 6 number of sessions. Sometimes this will be with a group of people with depression.There are different types of talking therapy. According to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE), cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective therapies for depression. It should normally be available in your area. 16 Therapies may have different levels based on how long or intense the treatment is. The level of therapy you get will depend on your symptoms.When you finish treatment your doctor may suggestion Mindfulness Based CBT (MCBT) which can be helpful if your depression comes back. Other common talking therapies include:
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Problem-solving therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Behaviour activation
  • Mindfulness based therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Counselling
Ask your GP about therapy if you are interested. Not all of these therapies will be available on the NHS in your area. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that may be as helpful as CBT for treating anxiety and depression. Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT)Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) is one way of treating mild to moderate depression. You learn CBT techniques online using a computer. You will go through the same type of session as you would if you were with a therapist. It can be helpful after you have finished talking therapies to stop your symptoms coming back. 'Beating the Blues' is one of the cCBT programmes you can get. They are free but you need to talk to your GP about it.AntidepressantsYour doctor might offer you an antidepressant. You may need to try different types before you find one that works for you. If you do not want to take antidepressants, tell your doctor and you can discuss other options.Antidepressants can have side effects and can affect other medicines you are taking. Your doctor will check if you have physical health conditions or if you take other medication. It is important to talk to your doctor before you stop taking medication, because stopping suddenly can cause problems.Exercise TherapyHaving good physical health and exercising can help with depression. Some GP surgeries will put you in touch with local exercise schemes. These might sometimes be called 'exercise on prescription'.Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure sometimes used to treat severe depression. In this treatment, an electrical current is briefly passed through your brain while you are under general anaesthetic which means you are not awake during the procedure. You should only have ECT if you have very bad depression and your life may be at risk or no other treatments have worked.Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)TMS involves using magnetic fields to try to change the way the brain works. Scientists think that this could help people with depression and does not cause any major safety concerns.Complementary or Alternative TherapiesComplementary therapies are treatments which are not part of mainstream medical care. They can include aromatherapy, herbal remedies, acupuncture, massage, meditation and yoga. These treatments may help improve your emotional wellbeing and may help with side effects.The above information ‘how can it be treated’ was used from depression fact sheet.Top Health Tips
  1. Stay in touch – Don’t withdraw from life. Socialising can greatly improve your mood. Keeping in touch with family and friends means you have someone to talk to.
  2. Be more active – Take up some sort of exercise, whether it be a dance class or football activity. There is evidence that exercise can lift your mood. If you haven’t exercised for a while, start slowly with a simple 15-minute walk.
  3. Face your fears – Don’t avoid the things you find difficult. When people feel low they often avoid talking to people. It may cause you to lose confidence going out travelling. If this were to happen, facing up to them will help them to become easier
  4. Don’t drink too much alcohol – For some, alcohol can be a big problem. You may drink more when you are low, hiding emotions as a coping mechanism. Alcohol will not help solve your problems and could lead to you becoming more depressed.
  5. Eat a healthy diet – Some people do not like eating when they feel depressed and risk becoming underweight. Other find comfort in food and being to put on weight. Antidepressants may also affect your appetite. It is important to have a balanced diet.
  6. Have a routine – When depressed, people can get into poor sleeping patterns, staying up later than normal then sleeping through the day. Try to get up and sleep at your normal times. Without a routine you will see an effect on your eating. You may stop cooking regular meals and skipping meals instead.