Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking
time out for fun and relaxation, may work together to
prevent a depressed mood. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of depression that last for more
than one or two weeks you should speak to the GP.
Mental health is associated with a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. This directly affects the way we think, feel, and act. This condition also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Depression is a very serious and common condition that affects our mood, thoughts and body. It can present itself through sadness, guilt and anxiety. Depression can also lead to a lack of drive to carry out basic self-care such as appetite or lack of sleep.
Symptoms of poor mental health including depression can be complex and vary widely between different people. But as a general rule, if you're depressed you may feel, sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy. The symptoms may persist for weeks or months and are bad enough to interfere with your work, social life and family life.
If you have depression, possible forms of treatment are available to help:
- Antidepressants are tablets that treat the symptoms of depression or poor mental health,
Your GP can recommend a combination of therapy, which would involve you taking a course of antidepressants plus talking therapy, particularly if your depression is quite severe.
- Mental health teams can be availed of for help, if you have severe depression. You may be referred to a mental health team made up of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Specialist Nurses and
- Occupational Therapists. These teams often provide intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medication.
Mental Health clinics are set up to help diagnose and treat all patients with mental health problems and prevent relapse, to promote a healthy lifestyle and social interaction. Our Practice runs a Clinic which is run by the Practice Nurse where patients are invited to attend for monitoring on a regular basis.
Mental Health protocol
We aim to diagnose and treat all patients with mental health problems and prevent relapse, to promote a healthy lifestyle and social interaction and ensure compliance.
Between 10% and 15% of women have postnatal depression after childbirth. Severely depressed mothers may resort to suicide, which is the second most common form of maternal death in the year after birth, and may require hospital admission. Inform social support can reduce the risk of postnatal depression. Health visitors can use their routine contacts with mothers to identify postnatal depression and treat its milder forms.
Severe eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can result in long term ill health, and may cause death. Most eating disorders can be managed within primary care. Dietary education and monitoring of food intake are effective components of treatment. Antidepressants may be effective in panic and eating disorders.
Individuals with severe disorders should be referred for specialist assessments, including a full medical and psychiatric assessment.
Panic Attacks / Anxiety disorders
Panic attacks, phobias, or persistent generalised anxiety can impede a person’s ability to work, form relationships, raise children, and participate fully in life. GP’s often see anxiety, mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, which may be associated with high levels of disability. People who have anxiety symptoms usually smoke more, and may drink more alcohol too, increasing their risk of ill health.
Each year, one woman in every 15 and one man in every 30 will be affected by depression, and every GP will see between 60 and 100 people with depression. Most of the 4,000 suicides committed each year are attributed to depression.
Anti-depressant medication is an effective treatment for depression. Different groups of anti-depressants (tricyclics, SSRI’s etc.) have all been shown to be more effective than placebo in treating depression. However, people with depression often feel they do not receive adequate information concerning their treatment.
Depression can also be treated by structured psychological therapies, such as cognitive behaviour therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is an important form of treatment for patients with mental health conditions. It is important to do the best you can to help ensure your mental health is maintained at a healthy state. It is best to consider ways which can help keep your state of mind in a healthy condition by considering the following:
- Healthy eating
- Exercise regularly
- Speak to friends and family if you feel troubled
- Reach out to organisations for help and impartial advice (Samaritans –Tel- 028 9066 4422)
- Speak to your GP
- Stop drug use / stop or lower alcohol consumption / stop smoking
CBT has been identified to be an effective way of treating a number of different mental health conditions. This type of talking therapy is most commonly used for patients with Anxiety and Depression as well as other mental and physical health problems. We provide CBT clinics on a weekly basis for our patients that can help the way they manage their problems by changing the way they think and behave.
In addition to depression or anxiety disorders, CBT can also help people with:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD),
- Panic disorder,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
- Eating disorders – such as anorexia and bulimia,
- Sleep problems – such as insomnia,
- Problems related to alcohol misuse.
- Of the psychotherapeutic interventions that have been studied in depression, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has consistently been shown to be the most effective and whilst this may not be used routinely, a referral for assessment should be considered in patients who do not respond to medication and simpler treatments.
Effective treatment depends on accurate diagnosis, the practitioner must first distinguish clinical depression, from sadness or distress which is part of normal life experience. Good response to treatment with antidepressants is seen in patients with more than mild symptoms.
It is helpful to think of treatment in three phases:
- Acute treatment has the aim of alleviating all symptoms with a current episode of depression and at the same time restoring full function. Such a remission may occur with or without treatment.
- Continuation treatment is intended to prevent relapse. By convention, when a patient has been asymptomatic for approximately six months following an episode, it is reasonable to assume recovery and continuation treatment may be stopped. During the period of such treatment it is important to review the patient regularly, to monitor progress and reinforce the need for ongoing treatment.
- Maintenance Treatment is aimed at preventing recurrent episodes of depression in those who establish a pattern of more than two episodes of illness. Treatment may be from one year to life.
If you feel that you would benefit from our in practice CBT sessions, please make an appointment with one of our Doctors to discuss further.