Understanding Mood and Memory Disorders

Holding Us Back or Holding Us Together?

Depression Evidence-Based Assessment & Treatment Plans

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


Biological Therapies




Social Therapies

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

  • Not completing daily chores and work tasks
  • Withdrawing from activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Withdrawing from close family and friends
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism
  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviour
  • Reduced sexual interest
  • Thinking and talking slowly

Emotional Signs of Depression

  • Feeling sad, empty and helpless most of the time
  • Becoming easily agitated, angry, restless, anxious and irritable
  • Crying for no known reason
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts

Physical Signs of Depression

  • Feeling fatigued and heavy
  • Experiencing sleep difficulties
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Experiencing muscle pain and headaches

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:


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.

Life Events

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.

Medical Illness

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.

Family History

If a history of depression or another mood disorder runs in your family, then there is an increased risk of developing depression yourself.

Drug and Alcohol Use

You are at higher risk of developing depression if you have a history of alcohol or drug misuse.

Alzheimer’s Disease 

Psychology patient care

What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease? 

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is unknown. 

In some regions of the brain cells die off causing these areas to shrink. First affected is usually the outer layer of the brain, which results in diminished short-term memory. Problems remembering small details such as names, dates and words is often the first sign of Alzheimer’s disease. As damage continues, deeper parts of the brain are affected. This leads to problems learning new information, using words and performing tasks. 

What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease? 

Alzheimer’s disease usually begins with lapses in short term memory, difficulty in finding the right words, and social withdrawal. With time, these symptoms gradually become more severe. Deeper problems also emerge, such as forgetting familiar people or places, trouble using familiar objects, and trouble performing daily tasks. There may also be mood swings and personality changes.