DepressionThe aim of this section is to describe the symptoms that a person suffering from a depression might experience. Depression is essentially a disorder of your mood and classified in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual under ‘Mood Disorders’, written by the American Psychiatric Association (APA, 2000). The APA states that for a person to be diagnosed with a depression the depressive symptoms should be present for at least two weeks and it will result in a change that will be different compared to the life the depressed person had before. There are more than five symptoms mentioned in the diagnostic statistical manual and for the person to be diagnosed as depressed, the person must present at least five of the criteria which are in summary:

1) depressed mood

2) decreased interest in pleasure

3) weight loss or gain, decreased or increased appetite

4) sleep disturbances

5) bodily agitation such as restlessness

6) reduced energy and fatigue

7) thoughts of worthlessness or disproportionate guilt

8) issues with thinking and concentration

9) recurrent thoughts of death with suicidal ideation

The APA emphasizes that these symptoms will have a negative impact on the work, social, personal and other aspects of the depressed person’s life (Criterion C). On the assessment, the therapist will gather that the symptoms are not caused by a general medical condition caused by for instance drug or alcohol abuse (Criterion D). Also, depression is considered to be a depression when it is not caused by bereavement after a loss of a loved one and these symptoms have lasted longer than two months (Criterion E).

When clients self-refer for a cognitive behavioural therapy of depression as mentioned above, they will report a number of different mental and bodily symptoms and these symptoms are not only agonizing and disabling to live with but they will also have a negative impact on the overall functioning of the affected persons in their relationships, friendships and in the work context. The clients or patients who are suffering from a depression will typically complain of a loss of interest in activities they enjoyed before, they might complain of somatic or bodily issues such as aches and pains and these changes might be also noticeable by their family members. One of the most important aspects of depression and that can easily be misinterpreted at home or misdiagnosed could be the affected person’s growing irritability for instance outbursts of anger, irritation or persistent anger that can suddenly become the cause of dissatisfaction and arguments in this relationship. The person on the receiving end of the persistent anger or outbursts of anger and could be unaware that the angry partner is depressed, then could label the depressed person as abusive and if not addressed the situation at home could deteriorate and escalate into ending. In order to clarify what is exactly happening for the person with the persistent outbursts of anger and before he/she is condemned to be being labelled as abusive that could escalate into painful separation or divorce, I would therefore strongly advise that such person should try sooner rather later seek counselling support or psychotherapy in order to explore what is exactly happening and if  the depression is present, the person could then be supported and the depressive symptoms including the outbursts of anger should be resolved.

When clients self-refer for psychotherapy or cognitive behavioural therapy treatment of depression, they will complain not only of a depressed mood and feelings of sadness, loneliness, anger or emptiness but they will also refer to their negative thoughts, self-evaluations which could include perceptions of worthlessness and self-blaming. Such clients will also complain of inability to concentrate and will describe issues with memory. The most disturbing and a serious aspect of the depression and the negative thoughts that clients complain are the thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts or self-harming. Once again, although suicidal ideation is not uncommon, it should not be underestimated at all and the concerned client, patient, friend or relative should try to seek or advise to seek an appropriate support sooner rather than later, because although suicidal ideation may accompany depression and although the person could feel a profound sense of hopelessness and loose a faith in the pain ever ending, the reality is that in most cases the suicidal ideation can be resolved and stopped and prevented and a good mood and happiness restored. Although I have worked with many suicidal clients, I am proud to say that none of them committed a suicide, we worked collaboratively to resolve the depression and most of my clients went on to live good and happier lives.

It is important to also mention that persons suffering from depression can acquire these depressive symptoms and phases as a result of past unresolved issues or  as a result of an ongoing unsatisfactory home or work situation. Also, depressive symptoms can be acquired from medical conditions such as cancer or because of direct physiological effects of alcohol, cocaine, or steroids (APA, 2000).

If you are experiencing for over two weeks on and off any of the depressive symptoms, if you suspect that you are suffering from a depression and if you would like to gain more control over your moods and would like a support, counselling or psychotherapy with cognitive behavioural therapy, please do not hesitate to call me or text me Leona Sears 07 505 124 933 or email me so we can schedule an appointment for you .