Depression is a word that has become increasingly common in our language and may at times be used in place of more appropriate words such as sadness or grief. Depression usually manifests as a heavy and enduring feeling of hopelessness that can affect our mood, feelings, behaviour and body.
One way of thinking about depression is that it is a type of prolonged sadness and that there is always a reason why we are feeling sad or even depressed. It may not be that we have suffered a recent loss. In fact, often the depression we feel is caused by earlier losses that have not been acknowledged and therefore become stuck.
What Causes Depression?
The causes of depression are usually multiple and differ from individual to individual. Common causes include: physical illness, issues dating back to childhood, current life circumstances, hormonal imbalances, poor diet and lifestyle, misuse of alcohol and/or drugs and relationship difficulties, to name a few.
Common Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Some common symptoms are:
- Enduring and prolonged sadness
- Feeling helpless and hopeless
- Lack of pleasure and enjoyment
- Loss of self-confidence and feelings of worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleeping problems
- Loss of sex drive and or appetite.
- Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
Psychotherapy of Depression
When working with depression, we first try and establish what may be the underlying cause of the symptoms, that clustered together, feel like depression. For example, grief, such as that experienced after a significant bereavement, can feel very much like depression and clinically meets all the symptoms. However, the big difference is that it is completely normal to feel ‘depressed’ after the loss of someone we love, whereas it is not beneficial to feel unable to engage with the world for prolonged periods of time when there is no obvious cause.
As depression counsellors our job is to gently understand the many factors in a client’s life that may be contributing to their overwhelming feelings of sadness and then to help them to find a language to understand and process the feelings from the past or present. This may also involve an enquiry into the lifestyle factors that may be impacting or making the symptoms worse, and work with the client towards change.
For more information on depression counselling across Brighton and Hove or to find out how we can help with the treatment of depression, get in touch with us today.