What is Major Depression?
Major depression is a common mood disorder characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, loss and irritability that lasts for more than two weeks. This can result in a loss of interest and withdrawal from daily activities and social interaction leading to a significant decline in quality of life. Major depression may also affect your memory and concentration.
Treatment for Major Depression Involves Therapies Across 3 Areas
Effective treatment may involve work in all these areas which should be seen as complementary.
Biological therapies are often required initially in order for you to benefit from psychological treatments. Biological therapies use medication or neurostimulation to normalise brain function.
Psychotherapies involve discussions with a therapist to identify negative patterns of thinking and to provide skills to assist coping with depression.
Social therapies seek to enhance social connectedness, employment and education with improved diet and exercise in a holistic approach to living and engaged an meaningful life.
Common Biological Therapies Include:
- Antidepressant medications, which work by altering the levels and actions of neurotransmitters in the brain.
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses targeted short bursts of magnetic energy applied to specific areas of the brain to normalise the brain’s activity.
Unfortunately, not every person responds to existing treatments so we are always looking for new alternatives. These research efforts are known as clinical trials.
Clinical trials allow researchers to determine whether new antidepressant therapies work, and to establish their possible risks as well as benefits. In these studies, participants often receive either the trial medication or a placebo for a period of time, during which their response to the medication is monitored regularly.
Participation in a clinical trial is free and participants can withdraw at any time.
Do I Have Depression?
You may be depressed if you have felt sad, low or miserable, most of the time, for more than 2 weeks or have lost interest in activities that would usually bring you pleasure.
Behavioural Signs of Depression
Emotional Signs of Depression
Physical Signs of Depression
What Causes Depression?
The exact cause of depression is not fully understood.
However, a number of factors have been linked to the development of the disorder including:
Continuing difficulties and struggles have been linked to depression. This may be long-term unemployment, unhealthy relationships, long-term isolation, or prolonged work stress.
Alternatively, depression could be triggered by a single event such as a childhood trauma, death of a loved one or divorce.
If a history of depression or another mood disorder runs in your family, then there is an increased risk of developing depression yourself.
You’re at higher risk of developing depression if you have low self-esteem, are self-critical, tend to worry a lot or are perfectionistic.
Certain conditions, such as insomnia, chronic pain, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and many chronic illnesses increase your risk of developing depression.
In addition, certain medication may also increase your risk.
Seek guidance from your doctor if you are concerned.
Drug and Alcohol Use
You are at higher risk of developing depression if you have a history of alcohol or drug misuse.