Is this depression?

Depression is one of the most severe psychiatric disorders and causes difficulty in working and social functioning. It is frightening that over 60% of severely depressed people never get help. As many as 80% of depressed people have daily functioning problems, and most often lose about 6 working hours each week. People with depressive symptoms are more than 2 times more likely to take sick leave than people without these symptoms. But even while working, they are less effective than healthy people. People who suffered from depression had lower incomes later in life, a lower level of educational achievement, a lower likelihood of being married.


The two key symptoms of a major depressive episode are depressed mood or sadness, and a significant decrease in interest or enjoyment of most activities.

Other symptoms may include insomnia or hypersomnia, changes in body weight and / or appetite, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, fatigue, decreased ability to concentrate, indecision, psychomotor retardation or agitation, repeated thoughts of death, feelings of lethargy and hopelessness. To diagnose depression, these symptoms must be present almost daily for two weeks and interfere with a person’s functioning. If the symptoms can be attributed to a general health condition or the effect of psychoactive substances, then we exclude depression.

What are the odds?

The chance that you have at least one major depressive episode in your lifetime is about 17%. Twice as many women than men suffer from depression, and as many as 80% of people who have had one major depressive episode will have at least one more. Depressed people have an average of 7 depressive episodes in a lifetime. Women who experience marital conflicts have a 25 times higher risk of depression. About 8-12 percent of women experience postpartum depression.

Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men are more likely to commit it because they choose more lethal methods. Depressed people who are divorced or have recently lost their partner have the highest risk of suicide, while married and single people have the lowest risk. People who have a family history of suicide, alcoholism, or depression, and people who feel they have no social support, have a higher risk of suicide.

Estimates of heredity of depression are between 37 and 66%. Early onset of depression in life is associated with a family history of depression, and individuals at higher risk of depression are also more likely to respond to depressive symptoms after stressful events during childhood. Depression is more common in people whose parents divorced, separated, or died during their childhood. Sexual abuse, but also other forms of abuse, are also associated with an increased risk of depression. In the elderly, depression is often associated with physical illness. Older people who are depressed on average and die earlier.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of evidence-based psychotherapy. It is the most effective type of therapy for depressive and anxiety disorders, among others.

This type of therapy looks at depression through three types of negative thoughts, and these are negative thoughts about yourself (“I’m a bad person,” “I’m incapable,” “I’m not made for anything,” “I’m a loser,” “No one is me can’t love “), about others and the environment (” Others are bad to me “,” Others always leave me “,” This world is worthless “,” There are no good people in the world “,” Others don’t understand me “), and future (“I will never be better”, “Everything is hopeless”, “I will always feel this bad”, “Nothing can help me”, “I am doomed to failure”, “Everyone will be better when I am not” ).

Behavioral therapists often, after assessing the deficit in social skills, include assertiveness training in the therapy. Inadequate problem-solving skills can also lead to depression, so a person is taught problem-solving skills. There is a wide range of cognitive techniques (focused on thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs) and behavioral techniques (focused on behavior) that are used during therapy, and are chosen according to the specific needs of each person.

It is very important to learn techniques and practice skills during the client’s therapy, which will make him independent in dealing with his symptoms, life problems and other difficulties, ie. to be your own therapist, instead of depending on the therapist whenever a problem arises. The cognitive-behavioral therapist does not transfer his beliefs to the client, but in cooperation with the client discovers which client’s beliefs and thoughts are dysfunctional, and together they change them into functional ones. Cognitive-behavioral therapy doesn’t just last while you’re sitting with a therapist – it extends into your daily life, making it more successful.
In the treatment of depression, it is, above all, crucial to examine suicidal thoughts and intentions, and to treat them as a priority. Suicidal people see death as the only option, and therapy gives them the opportunity to see that it is just one of the options, the worst one for the client.

Studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy is just as effective or more effective than antidepressant in treating major depressive disorder, especially because it has a better effect in the long run. In depression, which is severe and very resistant to other types of therapy, electroconvulsive therapy also shows exceptional effectiveness.

The sun may not be shining at this moment, but the night never came that did not dawn after it. Never give up on yourself and your life. You may not see a solution, but it always exists. Give an opportunity to a professional to help you.

A. Vlašić

Andrea Vlašić, PhD Psychologist; cert.clin.hypnotherapist, CBT therapist IE, biofeedback trainer, specialized for stress and trauma


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