February 2, 2023

What You Need to Know About Depression

The word depression is often thrown around easily when used to describe feelings of extreme sadness, but some aren’t aware that the clinical definition of depression is so much more than just sadness. In fact, depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses that affects how people feel, think and act.  

Depression can elicit feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities that people who suffer from it used to find pleasurable. Depression can cause both emotional and physical pain that can affect your ability to function at work, at home, and in other social settings as well.

Symptoms of Depression That Should You Look Out For

And while it varies from person to person and comes in different levels of intensity and frequency, the most common symptoms that people who suffer from depression mostly experience include:

  • Fatigue or loss of energy  
  • Thoughts of death or suicide  
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping  
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt  
  • Agitation or slowed movements and speech  
  • Significant changes in appetite and/or weight  
  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities that you used to enjoy
  • Difficulty concentrating, memory issues, or difficulty making decisions

It is important to note that these symptoms must be present for at least 2 weeks before a diagnosis of depression can be made. It matters to consult with a trusted and credible mental health professional  

Dealing with Depression? 5 Tips to Those Suffering From Clinical Depression

Having a confirmed diagnosis of clinical depression can be a lot to take in. Some could be in denial, while others are confused as to which steps they should take next. If you find yourself in this situation, these 5 tips can prove to be useful to you and your mental health journey.

  • Consult with a mental health professional: A mental health professional will help you understand your depression and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. Mental Health professionals can provide you with support and guidance throughout your recovery process.
  • Practice self-care: Self-care takes many forms: getting regular exercise, having a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep, and engaging in activities that you enjoy are some self-care practices you can get into. Meanwhile, it can also mean taking time to relax and unwind, whether through meditation or just sitting quietly.
  • Connect with your family and friends: Isolation worsens depression, so it’s good to keep up with your social connections. Family and friends can keep you company, while a support group can be a source of validation. Volunteering is also a great way to stay connected with others and to feel less alone.
  • Keep a positive outlook: It can be difficult to see the bright side of things when you’re having a depressive episode, but it’s also good to focus on the positive aspects of your life. You can keep a gratitude journal or listen to positive affirmations to help boost your mood.
  • Consider medication and therapy: Medication can be an effective treatment for depression, and therapy can help you learn coping strategies, process your emotions, and identify and change negative thought patterns.

Note that depression is a manageable/treatable condition and with commitment, time and proper therapies recovery is possible. If you are feeling symptoms of depression, reach out to a professional as soon as possible, and don't give up on seeking help. Be kind to yourself and know that it takes time to heal.

Can Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) be Used to Treat Depression?

Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) focuses on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and the goal is to help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours that contribute to their symptoms. As such, CBT is a very effective method for coping with depression.

CBT for depression typically includes the following components:

  • Psychoeducation: This means providing information about depression and its causes, as well as the principles of CBT and how it can help the client.
  • Identification of negative thoughts: The therapist will help the client identify unhealthy thoughts and beliefs related to their depression.
  • Challenging negative thoughts: The therapist will work with the client to challenge their unhealthy thoughts and beliefs and replace them with more balanced and realistic ones.
  • Behavioural activation: This involves increasing participation in activities that were once enjoyed and can help to improve your mood.
  • Practising mindfulness: Mindfulness-based strategies can be used in CBT to help the individual focus on the present moment and develop an awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.

Is CBT an Effective Treatment for Depression?

CBT has been found to be an effective treatment for depression, as demonstrated through research trials to reduce symptoms of depression and eventually improve quality of life. The benefits of CBT can be maintained over time, with the client less likely to have a relapse when compared with other treatments.

It's important to remember that CBT is not a "quick fix", as it generally requires a commitment of 4 to 20 sessions. Clients must also work with a trained CBT therapist that can guide them through the process. Additionally, CBT can also be used alongside other treatment options for depression.  

Some people may benefit from another form of evidence-based therapy (e.g. , interpersonal psychotherapy), from medication, or from a combination of therapy and medication. It’s important to work with a mental health professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs.

How Can Archways Help to Treat and Manage Your Depression?

If you think that you are suffering from depression, just remember, you are not alone and that with some help from Archways, there are things that you can do to help yourself feel better. Archways Centre for CBT is here to help you treat and manage your depression using cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in our Anxiety and Mood Clinic.

Cope with Depression at Archways Centre for CBT

Our Anxiety and Mood Clinic can help with depression by providing a variety of treatment options, such as therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. One of our mental health professionals at the clinic will assess your symptoms and develop a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific needs.  

Therapy options may include CBT, which helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, and increase purposeful and meaningful behaviours. Lifestyle changes may also be addressed, and medications, such as antidepressants, may also be recommended by our psychiatrist to help manage symptoms.

For more information on our Anxiety and Mood Clinic, visit our website or give us a call at 519-472-6612 to see if Archways is the right fit for you.