InterActive CBT
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Depression

Clinical depression is an extremely unpleasant and debilitating condition, where at best can lead to feeling ‘blue’ and at worst ‘total meltdown’ in physical, psychological, emotional and social functioning. I have singled out the term clinical depression to demonstrate that there are sub-categories relating to this disorder. It is normal to experience bouts of low mood during our life but these episodes of low mood do not necessarily constitute a diagnosis of clinical depression. There exists diagnostic criterion which may be helpful in establishing initial treatment modalities. For instance counselling may be helpful during low bouts in our lives or if we are struggling to understand or make sense of a situation, but if you are severely depressed you may require more intensive treatment or professional support. If you fall somewhere in the middle of this i.e. you experience reoccurring episodes of depression (either following significant life events or not), or you are generally managing but finding things a struggle then CBT will most likely be the treatment of choice for you.*
There exist various theories as to why we become depressed, however, what sufferers have in common is a profound loss of enjoyment and interest, many lack energy, motivation and concentration. Sleep, appetite and concentration can be affected which makes doing everyday activities extremely difficult. Some talk of feeling guilty, sad, anxious, tense and irritable which then only adds to self criticism and despair. Gradually self confidence erodes and sufferers focus on their negative views of themselves, their lives and their future believing that they will always feel like this. For some this can lead to passing thoughts of suicide (this is not unusual and does not mean that they will act on it but is a sign that they do need to see their GP), for others actual suicidal attempts.
What we do know is that in most cases depression runs its course, a bit like a common cold (but much, much worse of course!). Left untreated episodes will resolve within 3 – 6 months, but the risk of relapse is then quite high and sufferers can go on to experience longer term low mood.
Treatment seeks to shorten the episode and prevent further occurrences of which CBT is highly effective.


* See the NICE website endorsement of CBT here.

 

 

 

 


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