Depression

CBT for depression

WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

Everyone notices changes in their mood from day to day, or even hour to hour. All of us talk about being “a bit depressed” from time to time, but clearly we do not need to seek treatment every time we say this. So when is depression a problem which may need professional help? There is no exact dividing line between everyday depression and what people sometimes call ‘clinical depression’. It is a matter of degree. When depression is more severe, more long-lasting, and more widespread in its effects, then we start to say this may be a clinical depression which needs help. People who have this more severe kind of depression usually have other symptoms besides the obvious one of feeling depressed. These are described below:

Common symptoms of depression

The following is a list of the common symptoms of people who are depressed. Not everyone will have all of these, and not everyone will follow exactly the same pattern.

Depressed mood. Feeling low, sad, fed-up, or bleak, numb and empty.

Losing interest, enjoyment and motivation. Nothing seems like fun, everything feels like a chore. Life seems grey, boring and pointless.

Self-criticism and guilt. Feeling that you are bad, useless, inadequate or worthless.

Increased irritability and anger.

Pessimism.  
Seeing the most negative interpretation of everything that happens. Thinking that nothing will work out right, seeing everything through dark glasses.

Hopelessness, Thinking that not only is everything bleak and pointless, but it will always be like this. It may seem like there’s no point in even trying to make things better because the future contains nothing but further misery and loss.

Feeling anxious, worried or tense, often without knowing why.

Loss of energy.  Feeling tired all the time.

Reduced activity.  In some cases this may reach a point where people just lie in bed or sit in a chair all day without moving.

Finding it hard to be with people. Withdrawing from social activities.

Being excessively restless, agitated and fidgety; or the opposite extreme, doing everything much more slowly than usual.

Difficulty in concentrating, often to the point where it is difficult to follow a TV programme or a conversation.

Memory difficulties. For example forgetting where you have put something down, or not being able to remember someone’s name. There are often more specific memory changes as well, such as finding it much easier to remember anything bad that has happened to you than anything good.

Changes in sleep pattern.  Most often difficulty in getting off to sleep, disturbed sleep, or waking up early and not being able to get back to sleep. Sometimes however people may sleep more than usual, perhaps as a way of escaping from feeling bad.

Changes in appetite and weight. Most often a loss of appetite and weight, but sometimes people may 'comfort eat’, resulting in weight gain.

Loss of interest in sex.

Thoughts of death. These may range from thinking it would not be so bad to be killed accidently, to actively making plans for suicide.
 
While the above are common symptoms of depression, remember that every ones depression is different and different people experience different combinations of the above listed symptoms.