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Depression is a "whole-body" illness, involving your body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way you eat and sleep, the way you feel about yourself and the way you view things. A depressive disorder is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People who are depressed cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better.

Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from Depression. The symptoms may vary from person to person, they also depend on the severity. Depression causes changes in thinking, feeling, behaviour and physical well-being.

Symptoms of Depression

* Sadness or 'empty' feelings
* Anxiety
* Decreased energy, fatigue, being 'slowed down'
* Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, hobbies, sex and intimacy etc...
* Insomnia, oversleeping or waking much earlier than usual
* Loss of weight or appetite, or overeating and weight gain
* Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
* Feelings of helplessness, guilt, and worthlessness
* Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
* Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
* Restlessness, irritability or excessive crying
* Chronic aches and pains or physical problems that do not respond to treatment

Depressed people may often have thoughts like:

* 'I am a failure'
* 'I can't do anything right'
* 'I will never accomplish my goal,'
* 'No one cares about me'
* 'This situation will never end'
* 'Things will never be right for me'

The NHS lists some of the common causes of Depression

Depression is one of the most common reasons that people seek Psychotherapy.

Treatment for Depression includes psychotherapy and antidepressant medicines, both may take time to work but have a good chance of success. Some people have recurring episodes of Depression and require long-term treatment to keep symptoms away. Psychotherapy has been found to be an effective form of treatment, in fact, it appears to be as effective as anti-depressant medications.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

An effective Psychotherapeutic approach commonly used to combat Depression is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (also referred to as CBT). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a combination of two kinds of therapy: Cognitive and Behavioural.

Cognitive Therapy focuses on thoughts, assumptions and beliefs. Clients can learn to recognise unhelpful beliefs and patterns of thinking. Cognitive Therapy is not about "positive thinking" in the sense that you must always be geared towards thinking happy thoughts. It is a way to gain control over racing, repetitive thoughts which often feed or trigger anxiety.

With the use of Behavioural Therapy, clients can learn how to change their behaviour. There are some common Behavioural techniques used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as desensitisation, relaxation and breathing exercises. They all form part of Behavioural Therapy.

Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is often are used together because they are beneficial to each other. CBT focuses on the clinical observation that the depressed mood often results from negative patterns of thinking and behaviour. These thoughts can feel powerful and compelling, but usually do not tell a balanced, reasonable story.

CBT allows the client and Therapist to work together to determine what types of negative thinking is problematic for the depressed client. Also, the types of coping or balanced thoughts can that be used to provide a better perspective, to lift the client's mood and help him or her function better. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy has a focus on helping the depressed client increase his or her activity level and develop more gratifying activities.

Therapy Sessions - During sessions the client is able to express their thoughts and feelings. The Therapist takes an active approach to teaching here-and-now coping strategies to help clients understand and change cognitions and behaviours that contribute to their depressed mood. This is an active problem-solving form of therapy. Practising new skills outside of sessions is a central part of treatment. A key goal of Therapy for Depression is to provide you with tools that you can use to work on your depressive symptoms, it also aims to prevent future episodes. Treatment can take place as individuals, couples or groups.

No one is predestined to develop Clinical Depression. However, it can be very important to be aware of risk factors so that those of us who may be vulnerable can educate ourselves, be attentive to warning signs, as well as, take steps towards recognising and preventing Depression.

If you're depressed or manic you may not experience all of the symptoms. Some people will have many; others will have just a few. The severity may also be different for each person and even vary over time. If you're experiencing any symptoms or have questions about whether you may be depressed or manic consult a Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Mental Health professional or your Doctor as soon as you can.