Depression is arguably the most common of all mental health disorders with an estimated 1 in 6 people – that’s 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men – experiencing depression at some stage of their lives.
However there are many forms of depression and it can develop in many different ways. From a clinical perspective, depression is classified as one of the Mood Disorders and a diagnosis of depression must fit with certain diagnostic criteria.
Depression often comes about as a result of an event or a series of events, and this is referred to as reactive depression. It is normal for human beings to feel sad after some negative event, and it’s quite normal to feel depressed for some time afterwards. However it is the degree or the extent of the depression, and the length of time that it continues, which is significant for a diagnosis to be made.
Some people are more (or less) predisposed to becoming depressed than others, due to their own hereditary bio-chemical makeup and their personal experiences throughout their life; exposure to certain situations (eg child abuse) can put an individual at greater risk of developing depression.
There are numerous risk factors and protective factors for depression. The critical thing is to have a thorough understanding of one’s self: the level of resilience against adversity; what situations are more likely to cause a state of depression; and what resources are available in times of sadness and stress.
However, there can be times when our personal resources are overwhelmed and we need to turn to professional help.
Dealing with Depression
Human beings are unique individuals and depression will interact with an individual in accordance with their unique genetic makeup and life experiences. A Psychologist is highly trained to identify the most appropriate therapeutic approach for relieving depression, to fit with the unique individual, as there are numerous therapies which can be effective.
Often the Psychologist will work collaboratively with a General Practitioner who may prescribe anti-depressant medication for a short period of time. There are good outcomes for people dealing with depression, whether it is a brief reactive depression following a negative event, or if it is chronic depression. Learning to recognise the warning signs is important, as is learning ways to build resilience and restructuring one’s life, to limit the triggers for depression.
I take an eclectic approach to working with people presenting with depression, that is in context with the individual’s uniqueness. Such an approach draws from a range of therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy, and Solution Focussed Brief Therapy. As always, the positive results derive from the therapeutic relationship and the attention paid to the unique context of the client.
Author: Greg Turner, B App Sc, Grad Dip App Sc (App Psych), Cert GMH, MAPS.
Brisbane Psychologist Greg Turner is a national leader in the field of transcultural mental health, after spending over a decade in senior positions at the Queensland Transcultural Mental Health Centre. He sees his role as a facilitator to enable clients to recover their psychological strength, grow as human beings, and become equipped with strategies to deal with life’s problems as they present into the future.
To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Greg Turner, try Online Booking – Mt Gravatt or call (07) 3088 5422.