Why is counselling such an important part of treating depression?

Depression now affects approximately a quarter of the UK population in the course of a year. Mixed anxiety and depression is now the most common mental disorder in the UK, and depression alone affects 350 million people around the world.

Due to the stigma attached and the time it has taken to understand mental illness, people have been slow to come forward about it. This means the most effective treatment methods are still being analysed.

Why is counselling such an important part of treating depression?

Helps to determine the cause

Its crucial to understand the different variations of the illness and which it is a person is suffering from.

There’s a greater chance of overcoming mental illness when its type and its cause are identified. This is why a professional opinion is important.

Counselling can help change behaviours

Behaviour therapy focuses on changing a person’s behaviour to help control the feelings of depression they may be experiencing. It can be the first step in helping a person to recognise which of their tendencies may be causing feelings of depression.

Behaviour therapy can also help patients with:

  • Self-monitoring
  • Developing new activities to change current behaviours
  • Role playing to develop new skills
  • Behaviour modification rewards to encourage positive changes in behavioural patterns

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a proven form of counselling. It focuses on a person’s thought processes and seeks to find solutions in their mind rather than in their behaviours. It can also help to change the negative thoughts that are causing them to suffer from depression. 

Talking helps

People suffering from depression often find it hard to open up to friends and family because they feel ashamed, they don’t really understand what’s going on in their head, or they don’t want to burden others.

Counselling offers an opportunity for those who are affected to talk about their feelings openly and in a safe environment, with someone they know they can trust.

Counsellors can also encourage patients to open up and teach them how to apply this at home so that friends and family can assist with the recovery process.

How do you know if you are depressed?

The symptoms of depression can vary widely. The following are all common symptoms and for those with depression will persist for weeks or months and interfere with work, family and/or social life.

  • Continuous low moods or feeling sad
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Being tearful or feeling guilt-ridden for no particular reason
  • Feeling irritable or intolerant of others
  • Experiencing a lack of motivation and losing interest in the things you used to enjoy
  • Finding it difficult to make decisions
  • Struggling to get any enjoyment out of life
  • Always feeling anxious or worried
  • Experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide

Many people are unaware that there are also some physical signs of depression including:

  • Moving or speaking slower than usual
  • Change in appetite or weight (usually decreased)
  • Unexplained aches or pains
  • Loss of libido
  • Problems sleeping

If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering from depression, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programme page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available.

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