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Depression Treatment with a Psychologist

Must Read: Identifying Signs of Depression and Treatment Options

What is depression?

Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. It may lead to withdrawing from friends or family, resulting in feeling disconnected. You may experience a significant loss of motivation in your usual activities or obligations. Depression is not about just ‘feeling down’ and presents with a number of emotional and behavioural symptoms that interfere with daily life and interpersonal relationships. Everyone feels sad, moody, flat or low from time to time. Depression experienced over a prolonged period lasting several weeks, months, and/or years needs to be treated. Depression is a serious mental health issue when the feelings of sadness, being flat or experiencing a low mood, or a sense of ‘emptiness’ are experienced more times than not over a week.

What does treatment for depression with a psychologist look like?

You may be reading this because you’re trying to figure out if you would benefit from a little more support from a registered psychologist. You may be wondering if you would benefit from receiving depression treatment by a warm and caring psychologist.

  • Are you experiencing sadness, feeling down, depressed, or irritable?
  • Have you experienced a loss of interest in your usual interests or hobbies?
  • Lost interest in seeing friends or going out for dinner on the weekend?
  • Are you experiencing a loss of pleasure in most activities?
  • Finding it hard to feel motivated to get out of bed in the morning?
  • Find yourself calling in sick from school, work or uni?

Often it starts by noticing the depressed mood is more than 1-2 days of the week, but rather feeling consistently down for 2 weeks or even more. When feeling down, you could notice it has caused significant trouble feeling connected with your friends, or perhaps family members, work colleagues or even school.

It can be tricky to differentiate between a “bad patch” and depression, therefore we discuss some symptoms that are common with depression. This is by no means a way to self-diagnose but rather a way to identify where professional support with a Psychologist will be of assistance for you or a loved one. The Australian Psychological Society (APS) discusses some of the causes of depression in an article (click here).

Causes of depression may include:

  • Genes
  • Biology
  • Stressful life events
  • Negative thinking patterns

Do you identify with the following most days of the week?

  • Sad or down in the dumps
  • Discouraged or hopeless
  • Low self-esteem, inferiority, worthlessness
  • Loss of motivation to do things
  • Loss of pleasure or satisfaction in life
  • Irritability in younger ones

What are the common symptoms of depression?

A few symptoms we can expect to notice are changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behaviour and/or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide. You may find yourself feeling hopeless and losing sight of the purpose. You may have lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel and therefore feel it would be easier if you were just not here. Some describe feeling as though they are a burden or hindrance to others and believe that nothing is going to change. Often with depression, it is just too challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel and experience a constant battle with your inner critical voice and let us not forget the severe lack of motivation.

What are the warning signs of depression?

You can keep an eye out for any noticeable symptoms in your own life, or a loved one. Ask yourself if you have noticed:

  • withdrawal from others or creating distance
  • shift in your behaviour
  • irritability and increased snappiness with those close to you
  • loss of temper, being more reactive to daily triggers

What is the evidence-based treatment for depression?

A little bit of a snip-it of what to expect when seeing a Psychologist in terms of one technique. One proven approach for depression is cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy has been proven to significantly improve your mood, self-esteem, and relationships.

The main principles of CBT:

Our emotions, both positive and negative, are not determined by the events in our lives, but rather by our interpretations and thoughts about these events. Depression and anxiety often stem from distorted and irrational thinking patterns. It’s important to recognize that our internal narratives are not always accurate reflections of reality; they are beliefs and assumptions rather than objective truths. By altering our thought processes, we have the power to transform our emotions, often without the need for medication. Changing the way we perceive situations can significantly impact how we feel, offering a powerful tool for emotional well-being.

At Positive Wellbeing Psychology, we help to increase your overall level of insight into thoughts that maintain your persistent low mood. Once identify these patterns, we start to explore a range of strategies and tools collaboratively and in a nurturing environment, to see if we can shift unhelpful thought patterns that maintain the depressed mood.

How does Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) help?

Perhaps you have noticed you view yourself and others in the world around you through a negative lens. Perhaps find it impossible to notice much positivity around you. Maybe quick to disqualify any positive comments that others may say “You look nice today” or “Good job” and really only notice the negative things throughout our day. Restructuring the unhelpful thoughts is required at this point with a trained professional. Often this is described as ‘re-wiring the brain’ in terms of our automatic thoughts.

Get your free eBook Improving Your Mood: 10 Strategies Over 10 Weeks, which provides useful information on proven depression treatment techniques (click here).

Other Treatment Options for Depression?

The most effective psychological treatments for depression are cognitive behavioural therapy, problem-solving therapy, behavioural activation and interpersonal psychotherapy. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has also been shown to be effective in preventing future periods of depression in those people who have previously experienced depression. Read more on the Australian Psychological Society website (click here). Talk therapy and a combination of talk therapy and medication are the usual treatment options the GP provides for depression.

How can Positive Wellbeing Psychology help?

At Positive Wellbeing Psychology, our experienced Melbourne psychologists have a special interest in depression treatment, fostering healthy self-esteem, and nurturing healthier relationships. Our psychologists guide individuals to better understand the intricate dynamics of life changes that contribute to persistently low mood and symptoms of depression, adopting evidence-based therapy approaches.

What if I need immediate help for suicidal thoughts and risk of harm to myself?

If you find yourself thinking of harming yourself it is important to reach out for immediate support by phoning the below following free 24-hour helplines. We also recommend seeing your GP today for an appointment to discuss a safety plan.

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636
  • If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of harm, please call 000 as a matter of emergency.

If you are not at immediate risk of harming yourself but want to explore additional supports to improve your mood you may benefit from making an appointment with one of our registered psychologists today.

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