Despite the prevalence of going undiagnosed, either through ignorance or stigma, depression remains one of the most common reasons people seek therapy.
Depression. Do you know how it differs from the so-called “blues”? What kind of questions does a counsellor or psychologist ask to determine whether someone is depressed? And why, if they are, is it essential to get help?
We’ve all had days of feeling lonely, sad or tired – these emotions are part of the human condition. They are difficult times but, eventually, we bounce back from them and life carries on. For those suffering from depression, however, there is no bouncing back.
Being sad vs being sick
More than just the common ‘blues’, depression – also known as clinical depression, major depressive disorder, or unipolar depression – is a medical condition that goes beyond life’s ordinary ups and downs. In fact, it is a complicated illness that affects each person differently and has a wide variety of symptoms and causes. The key signs of depression, however, are the pervasive feelings of sadness or despair one experiences most days and for a period of at least two weeks.
Recognising the problem is often evident in how much one’s negative feelings impact one’s daily life, including work, relationships, interests and overall sense of happiness and enjoyment. Thoughts of suicide and self-harm are also signs of depression that indicate that the condition is getting worse.
Does the future seem without hope? Has the pleasure and joy gone out of life? Have you lost interest in aspects of life that used to be important to you? Do you find it hard to concentrate or have difficulty making decisions? These are the kinds of questions that would be asked in counselling or therapy to determine the state of a person’s mental wellbeing, including whether or not they are depressed.
The good news is that the condition is highly treatable. There are a number of therapeutic approaches that have demonstrated effectiveness in treating depression, but, regardless of the approach, a trained counsellor or psychologist can help a person view a depressive state with curiosity and without judgment, in an effort to understand and heal the source of the depression. In fact, many times simply identifying the source of depression can enhance treatment outcomes and provide some relief from depression. Therapy also helps people to recognise and access their strength, autonomy, resilience, and capacity for change.
If you would like to help people suffering from depression, SACAP’s counselling courses can help you become a registered professional who could positively impact the lives of many people. For more information, enquire now.