Depression

There are 5 main types of depression: major depressive disorder, major depressive disorder with melancholia, psychotic depression,persistent depressive disorderandperinatal depression.

Everyone feels down from time to time maybe because the day didn’t go well, you’re feeling stressed or life is difficult. We might throw our hands in the air and shout, rage and rant and declare that we’re depressed. For some people a good night’s sleep makes them feel better, calmer, back in control. For others a week might pass before there’s light again in their world. But for many, feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness don’t ever seem to end.

If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. - Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry is a well-known comedian who has talked publicly about his diagnosis of manic depression also known as bi-polar disorder. Manic depression includes clinical depression as a part of its diagnosis.

What is depression?

Major depressive disorder could be mild, moderate or severe. A major depressive disorder is a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities, together with:

  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia (can’t sleep) or hypersomnia (too much sleep)
  • Psychomotor agitation (restlessness) or retardation (slowing down of thoughts and reduced physical movement)
  • Fatigue, less energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Reduced ability to concentrate, indecisiveness
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts.

Major depression with melancholic features is usually severe. Symptoms include:

  • Despondency, despair, feeling ‘empty’
  • Early morning wakening
  • Slowing down of movement or restlessness
  • Significant weight loss
  • Excessive guilt.

Psychotic depression is a term used when major depressive disorder is associated with delusions, hallucinations and feelings of paranoia

Persistent depressive disorder (or dysthymia) has similar symptoms to major depression.

The main difference is that symptoms may be less severe but go on for a prolonged period of more than 2 years.

Perinatal depression is depression that occurs during pregnancy or after the birth of a baby and affects 15-20% of women in Australia.

Symptoms of depression

Symptoms can vary as noted above.

Is depression a chronic illness?

There are chronic and acute depressive states according to the symptoms and the diagnosis.

How to deal with a diagnosis of depression

Discussing all aspects of depression and the available treatment with doctors and specialists is essential so you can work out a way to manage your symptoms and find out what works best for you. Consider consulting with an integrative or lifestyle medicine practitioner who can assist you with a holistic approach to managing your symptoms and recovery. According to Lifeline, there is no one way to treat depression as it may need a combination of medical, psychological, community and lifestyle treatments.

You’ll benefit by learning how to:

  • Live with the physical effects of the illness
  • Minimise side-effects from treatments
  • Make sure there is clear communication with doctors
  • Maintain emotional balance to cope with negative feelings
  • Gain deep restful sleep
  • Maintain confidence and positive sense-of-self.

Immediate Help

  • Call 000 if your life is in danger
  • For crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
  • Speak with your GP or other trusted and qualified health professional
  • Beyondblue website contains many useful forums and resources

Treatment

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment. It can take time to discover the best treatment for each person, so it’s best to work closely with your (holistic) GP or other trusted and qualified health professional to find what works for you.

In addition, complementary treatments are now widely acknowledged as being integral to a person’s healing regimen. When we actively engage in a fulfilling life and take care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we create the ideal physiology in which our health can be regained or improved.

Factors that can help

Many factors contribute to a positive healing outcome for people with depression. These factors can help you regain your equilibrium:

  • Addressing physical as well as the emotional distress and isolation
  • Improving exercise and sleep levels along with other healthy lifestyle practices
  • Guidance on managing the emotional rollercoaster
  • Improving your nutrition and ability to manage stress as these impact considerably on your microbiome (gut bacteria) which is the foundation of your immune system
  • Meditation and living mindfully

Toolkit

Some of these practices can help you to calm your mind and improve your wellbeing and can be found on our Toolkit page:

  • Keys to improve the quality of your sleep
  • Meditation practices
  • The Four Cs – Keys to peace of mind and resilience

Some of Petrea King's Podcasts may be helpful and can be found on our Podcast page:

  • Talking Lifestyle Radio - Petrea King's uplifting outlook on life
  • Relax better and reduce stress using mindfulness
  • Eating well in times of stress
  • Living Life to the Fullest

Wellbeing resources

  • Wellbeing books including Your Life Matters – a guidebook for life and Food for Life by Petrea King
  • Meditation CDs including Be Calm, Increasing Self Esteem, Tranquil Night, Learning to Meditate

How Quest for Life can help

It takes strength and resilience to work through depression, and Quest for Life can help through our residential programs and 1-day workshops.

Quest for Life knows how to help: our internal research results show that participants feel better after attending a program and that this improvement increases over time.

If you’re living with Depression, fill in the Contact Form below and one of our Program Advisors will be in touch to answer your questions or to ascertain the most appropriate program for your needs.

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