What is Depression?

Depression is a common mental health problem and is significantly different from mere unhappiness or sadness. It is a long lasting, often recurring illness as real and debilitating as heart disease. About 800,000 Australians experience depression each year and one in five people is likely to experience depression or anxiety in their lifetime. Further, almost 80% of those with a diagnosed depressive disorder also have an anxiety problem. (1997 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing of Adults, Australian Bureau of Statistics).

What Are The Symptoms?

The symptoms and the severity may be different for each person.

  • eating or sleeping too much or too little, including frequent waking during the night, difficulty getting to sleep or being unable to wake in the morning
  • loss of interest in daily activities, a lack of energy and/or loss of sex drive
  • excessive crying and  being easily upset
  • thoughts of suicide or feelings of wanting to escape from the way one is feeling
  • restlessness, agitation and irritability
  • headaches, digestive disorders or nausea
  • persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, isolation, helplessness and hopelessness
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness


What Are The Causes?

Depression can be a result of an interaction of a number of factors including:

  • Environmental factors - stress associated with certain milestone stages of your life, such as puberty, middle age or retirement, stress resulting from personal tragedies, family breakdown and unemployment, for example, can all contribute to becoming depressed.
  • Biological factors - an imbalance of the chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and activity can alter someone’s thoughts, emotions and behaviour, resulting in depressive symptoms.
  • Genetic factors - people can inherit a predisposition to develop depression.
  • Personality - some personality types are more prone to depression. People who set very high standards for themselves and others may be easily depressed if they are let down.
  • Thinking style – people with depression often think in unrealistic or negative ways which may cause or maintain depression
  • Past depressive episodes - once you have experienced an episode of Major Depression, you may be more likely to develop it or another mental illness in the future.
  • Physical illness or medical conditions – some medical conditions and medications used to treat physical illnesses can trigger depression.
  • Alcohol and other recreational drugs - some recreational drugs can make it worse or trigger it in some people.


What Help Is Available?

For persons effected by or suffering, Therapeutic Axis can provide counselling in Sydney and psychotherapy in Sydney.

Some of the common treatments for symptoms include:

  • behavioural and lifestyle changes like exercise
  • counselling and psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • medication: there are many antidepressant medications available which can be prescribed by your G.P.
  • alternative therapies