WHEN DOES FEELING SAD TURN INTO DEPRESSION?

Depression is a common problem.  At least 15% of people will experience depression at some point in their lives.  

Depression is not your fault.  The circumstances of our lives and our society make it more likely that we will experience depression at some point.  For example, increasing isolation, difficulty finding jobs or careers, the delaying of having a family and stresses such as job losses and endings of relationships make it more likely that we will experience depression at some point in our lives.

Depression is very different from normal moments of feeling miserable or sad.  When someone is depressed the feeling of sadness or irritability is extreme and it may include hopelessness. These feelings usually lasts weeks or months rather than days.  This sadness begins to have a negative effect on a person's life including school, work, home, relationships, friendships and hobbies. 

The causes for depression are complex and are made up various factors including early life experiences, genes, thinking styles, difficult life experiences and the degree of social support available for each individual. 

Depression can be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which has been shown to be at least as effective as medication.  CBT focuses on helping a person re-engage with life by gradually increasing the number of positive events in their life.  CBT also looks at helping a person identify and challenge unhelpful thinking styles and behavioural patterns that may leave an individual prone to further episodes of depression. 


Linda Atkinson

Clinical Psychologist and CBT Therapist