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Sadness is a normal human emotion. But, if it happens too often, the wrong times or becomes severe, it can become a problem and have a have a destructive effect your quality of life. When low mood and sadness becomes a problem we often describe it as a 'disorder' and we know that around 6% of adults experience significant levels of depression every year. That is more than 1.5 million Australian adults every year and we know that depression will affect more than 30% of men and 40% of women in their lifetimes. Because depression affects motivation, energy levels and self-esteem, recovery from depression is hard work. But, the good news is there are effective treatments and people can successfully learn to manage their symptoms.
Note. We strongly encourage people with symptoms of depression to visit their GP or another health professional for an assessment and advice.
People with depression often experience three main types of symptoms:
1. Physical Symptoms: Such as changes in sleep and appetite, low energy levels (tiredness or fatigue), reduced sexual interest and increase in physical health problems like pain.
2. Unhelpful Behaviours: Such as becoming more irritable, avoiding people and places, avoiding things that used to be enjoyed or not getting the same pleasure from usual activities, walking or moving more slowly.
3. Unhelpful Thoughts: Such as excessive self-criticism and self-doubts, feeling despondent about the future and about the world, difficulty concentrating and poor attention, poor memory and forgetfulness, thoughts that you would rather not be alive, feeling hopeless or helpless, feeling sad, down, depressed or blue.
We believe it is essential that people learn to recognise their own symptoms of low mood and depression. This helps people to identify targets to work on in treatment and also helps people who have recovered recognise early warning signs of a rebound. Please note that it is important that you see your doctor for a check-up to rule out other causes for these symptoms.
Depression has a destructive impact on people and their families and communities. Symptoms of depression can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Depression not only affects the way people feel about themselves and about their future, but also affects their ability to work or attend study and can impair their ability to maintain healthy and happy relationships. When severe, depression often restricts what people do and when they do it. And, because of their symptoms, many people with depression don’t seek help from health professionals. They should.
Chronic depression often leads to feeling helpless, hopeless and suicidal. If you are having such thoughts please urgently contact your GP, another health professional, or your local mental health team. Or, in a crisis, dial 000. Remember, depression can be treated.
The good news is that depression is treatable regardless of age. We believe that the best treatments involve learning about your symptoms, learning how to control those symptoms and gradually resuming your usual activities. Learning to beat depression takes courage, commitment, practice and hard work. Learning to beat depression can be challenging because it robs people of motivation, energy and confidence. But, people can and do successfully learn to overcome their symptoms.
For further information about treatment options and assistance you can:
(a) Talk to your General Practitioner
(b) See a Psychologist, Psychiatrist or another mental health professional
(c) Or, you can find out about our eCentreClinic Courses for treating depression