Depression is a debilitating and damaging mental health condition that goes far beyond simply feeling down or sad, and is a physiological change in the body that can persist for months or even years. It can lead to loss of appetite, apathy, sexual disinterest, thoughts of suicide and lead to severe consequences in work, relationships and family life.
Depression is immensely challenging to understand and work with, and varies hugely from person to person. Understanding the complexities underlying the depressed feelings, often from childhood and relational contexts can begin to help bring understand and context to how one is feeling and provide a platform for development and healing.
Assessment for clinical depression is never easy as subjectivity plays a huge part in determining how an individual will respond to questions and assessment. The NHS uses a Patient Health Questionairre in order to ascertain levels of depression and determine appropriate treatment and assess progress. A sample of the form is below:
|How often you have felt each of these statements over the last two weeks ?|
|Little interest or pleasure in doing things|
|Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless|
|Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much|
|Feeling tired or having little energy|
|Poor appetite or overeating|
|Feeling bad about yourself — or that you are a failure or
have let yourself or your family down
|Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the
newspaper or watching television
|Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have
noticed? Or the opposite — being so fidgety or restless
that you have been moving around a lot more than usual
|Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting
yourself in some way
Disclaimer: This test is a faithful reproduction of the PHQ-9 available from www.phqscreeners.com. Test scoring is provided for information purposes and any level of depression reported would need to be confirmed by an appropriate mental health professional.
If you feel you have depression, and want some further help, these workbooks from the Centre for Clinical Interventions in Australia are useful resources to help you understand depression further and help bring it under control.
Disclaimer: These workbooks are copyright of the Centre for Clinical Interventions and are intended for information purposes only. Diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues requires the attention of a mental health professional and this information is not a substitute for such.
- Module 1: Overview of Depression
This module looks at the symptoms of depression, what causes depression, and provides information about psychotherapy for depression.
- Module 2: Behavioural Strategies for Managing Depression
This module describes how to increase activity levels, particularly fun activities.
- Module 3: The Thinking-Feeling Connection
This module describes automatic thoughts and explores how thoughts influence feelings.
- Module 4: The ABC Analysis
This module explores how you can use a thought diary to monitor the unhelpful thoughts that can lead to how you feel about a particular situation.
- Module 5: Unhelpful Thinking Styles
This module describes a number of common unhelpful thinking styles that can lead to negative emotions.
- Module 6: Detective Work and Disputation
Module 6 explores how you can examine and challenge unhelpful thoughts by expanding the thought diary described in Module 4.
- Module 7: The End Result
This module describes how you can summarise how you have challenged unhelpful thoughts by producing a balanced thought.
- Module 8: Core Beliefs
Core beliefs are often at the root of unhelpful thoughts that are particularly difficult to change. This module looks at core beliefs and how to change them.
- Module 9: Self Management
This final module describes how to maintain gains and continue the progress that has been made throughout the previous modules.
Other useful resources are as follows: