geoff baxter

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Depression Print E-mail

Depression can happen to anyone - and does happen to one in four of us over our lifetimes.  There are certain factors that can make depression more likely to occur, such as a biological predisposition, certain events in our lives, or the way we are brought up. What keeps it going though, is how we deal with those things.  The way we think and what we do affect the way we feel and depression is often accompanied by other feelings such as guilt, shame, anger and anxiety. In CBT we look at the thoughts and behaviors that maintain the problem and seek more helpful alternatives.

Thoughts

People who are depressed tend to think very negatively about themselves, the future and the world around them.  It can be like seeing life through a pair of grey tinted glasses.

 

  • Depressive thoughts
  • Everything is hopeless
  • I'm useless
  • I’m worthless
  • It's all my fault
  • The world is a terrible place - everything goes wrong

 

When we are depressed we can get stuck in this negative thought pattern that only serves to make us more depressed. In CBT we would seek to formulate more realistic and helpful thoughts patterns and reinforce these so that they replace the negative thinking patterns associated with depression

Physical Sensations

There are also certain physical symptoms that often accompany depression

 

  • Tiredness, fatigue, lethargy
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Sleep changes (sleep more or less)
  • Eating changes (eat more or less)
  • Lose interest and motivation in hobbies, activities, sex

 

Behaviours

As a result of our negative thought patterns and because of the tiredness, difficulty sleeping and eating, we tend to do less and less.  We don’t enjoy the things we used to do and so we have less and less interest in doing them. We want to stay in bed, or stay at home doing very little.  We might isolate ourselves from friends and family. This negative cycle continues. The less we do the less we want to do and so on.
One of the most important and effective treatments for depression is behavioural activation. Changing the way we behave, even though we don’t really feel like it. This in turn can lead to a more positive cycle- Increased activity gives us greater energy and increased motivation. Combine this with more helpful and realistic thought processed and we can begin to see a way out of depression.