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Symptoms of Depression and Treatment

Symptoms of Depression and Treatment

It is completely normal to feel a little sad or down sometimes. However, if you are constantly feeling sad and cannot enjoy anything positive for a longer period of time, you might be experiencing symptoms of depression.

Depression is caused by multiple factors. Some examples are; genetics, chronic disease, stress, low income, unemployment, age (particularly for under 30s), being female, giving birth, low self-esteem, loneliness, medication, drugs, anxiety disorder, traumatic experiences or loss. While depression can be caused by many factors, there isn’t a clear line between low mood and depression. As a rule of thumb, the longer low mood persists the more likely it would be labelled as depression. However, when it comes to feeling better, the type and severity of the symptoms are more important. 

People with low mood or depression can show many symptoms. These can be psychological, physiological and social in nature. If you have completed our recent research survey and been sent here, you might be struggling with mild low mood/depression. Since this is not a clinical assessment you may consider the following list of symptoms to determine how relevant this is to you. But keep in mind that experiencing one or two of these is still perfectly normal.

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Continuous low mood or sadness
  • Hopelessness and helplessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling tearful
  • Feeling guilt-ridden
  • Being irritable and intolerant of others
  • Having no motivation or interest in things
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions
  • Not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • Feeling anxious or worried
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself

Physical Symptoms:

  • Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • Changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
  • Constipation
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Lack of energy
  • Low sex drive (loss of libido)
  • Changes to the menstrual cycle
  • Disturbed sleep e.g. finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning

Social Symptoms:

  • Avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
  • Neglecting hobbies and interests
  • Having difficulties in your home, work or family life

Mild Symptoms of Depression

Mild low mood/depression often gets better with time and following simple advice from a healthcare professional can help the process. If you decide to have no treatment, you should review how you are feeling in 2 weeks and consider seeing a health professional if things have not improved.

In the meantime, there are still things you can do to boost your recovery.

Physical Activity Programmes

This is usually a group exercise class consisting of 3 sessions of 45 minutes per week for 10 to 14 weeks.

Self-Help Programmes

This usually means following a guide while checking in with a healthcare professional overseeing your progress. These guides usually require you to complete 6 to 8 sessions lasting about an hour each. It usually takes 9 to 12 weeks to complete.

Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (cCBT)

cCBT is a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy treatment. In this case, it is offered in the form of an interactive digital programme so that you can complete it where and when you can. The goal is to help you develop skills to challenge negative ways of thinking and unhelpful behaviour. You can do this on your own or with the support of a healthcare professional. It usually takes between 9 and 12 weeks to complete.

Thrive Mental Wellbeing

The Thrive Mental Wellbeing app uses Computerised Cognitive Behavioural techniques. We recommend you use the app while you are waiting to see a healthcare professional, but it is also helpful during other treatment. The in-app journal will enable you to track your progress between sessions and use the information during consultations.

Try the cCBT programme in our app today.

Moderate Symptoms of Depression

Moderate depression can get better by itself, but it could worsen or take a long time to improve. It is a health concern and you should seek advice from a health professional as soon as you can, even if you find it difficult at the moment.

In the meantime, here are some treatment options that your health professional may also subscribe to you.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT treatment has the most evidence for helping people with depression. The basic idea is that our automatic assumptions about situations shape our emotions. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy trains you to identify those assumptions and find ways to question or challenge them. This can be done in a group, usually run by two healthcare professionals and around 9 participants for 10 to 12 sessions over 10 to 16 weeks. This can also be done on a one-to-one basis which usually involves 16 to 20 sessions over 3 to 4 months.

Interpersonal Therapy

This form of therapy focuses on helping you manage your relationships with friends, colleagues and family. This tends to be recommended when your interpersonal relationships are identified as a significant factor in your depression and they usually take 16 to 20 sessions over 3 to 4 months.

Behavioural Activation

This form of therapy is all about finding behaviours that help improve your mood and reducing those that may make it worse. You work together with your healthcare professional to create a routine that incorporates all the right activities and helps you sustain it, even if you normally would avoid doing them. This usually takes 16 to 20 over 3-4 months.

Antidepressant Medication

You might be offered treatment with antidepressants. Depending on how you are at the start of treatment, a healthcare professional might think that it would be difficult for you to fully participate in therapy. However as you improve, you should be offered psychological treatment alongside medication. In the first instance, you should be offered a type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. If you are already under the care of a specialist you may be offered other types of antidepressants and medication.

Thrive Mental Wellbeing

The Thrive Mental Wellbeing app uses Computerised Cognitive Behavioural techniques. We recommend you use the app while you are waiting to see a healthcare professional, but it is also helpful during other treatment. The in-app journal will enable you to track your progress between sessions and use the information during consultations.

Try the cCBT programme in our app today.

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