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Spotting Depression - Effective Talking Therapies

Updated on March 13, 2016

Different Types of Depression in Men and Women

Recovery from the long downward spiral into depression is often accelerated by sharing feelings with others. Yet as many as 60% of depressed people say they cannot even talk to friends because of the stigma they fear is associated with their condition.

This, despite the fact that many celebrities have admitted to living with long periods of debilitating, chronic depression - Authors J.K. Rowling and Marian Keyes, actors Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Jim Carrey and many others.

Depression Symptoms in Women

Spotting the symptoms of depression in friends, family or colleagues are not always easy, warning signs include :

  • Changes in the way a person interacts socially with others
  • Impaired concentration, fatigue, loss of energy.
  • They may withdraw and avoid social gatherings
  • Stop making eye-contact
  • Feelings of worthlessness, or guilt.
  • Become slower in their movements.
  • There are some people who suddenly become overactive and over-enthusiastic.

Depression in Men

Men are less likely than women to acknowledge feelings of hopelessness or self-loathing.
They tend to complain about tiredness, irritability and the loss of interest in work and hobbies.

Other signs include anger, violence, reckless behaviour and even substance abuse. Men, especially the older man, are a higher suicide risk.

What is Depression?

How you Could Help

The most unhelpful things you can say include “get a Grip” or “Snap out of it”. Depressed people cannot engage with life the same way people without depression might. Many people are embarrassed or feel weak to admit they cannot cope.

Assurance that they are not alone, they have shouldered a lot and now need help themselves will empower them to talk and seek help. Social isolation is a key part of depression and small gestures of support such as sending a "how are your feeling" SMS can be more helpful than one realises.

Anti-depression medication is not always necessary and may only be part of the answer to treating depression, says Dr. Tim Cantopher, psychiatrist and author of Depressive Illness: the Curse of the Strong, who describes it as ‘mood first aid’ and says talking treatments are essential to help you understand why you got the illness.

CBT, or cognitive behavioural therapy, is the most extensively proven talking therapy for depression. It works by challenging and replacing the habitual thought processes and behaviour that led to the depression, within six to twelve sessions. “it is a rational, logical process, but, for some less logical and more emotional people, psychotherapy may be more helpful”, says Dr. Cantopher.

This therapy focuses on what do about your thoughts and behaviour now, and how to recognise and avoid the negative processes in the future, rather than delve into the past as the other therapies tend to do.


If there is past trauma, or repeat destructive patterns in your relationships, then this form of treatment will be effective within six months to a year of weekly sessions.


This long-term therapy works on difficulties rooted in childhood and can mean up to six years in therapy.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy

This can work in one to five sessions through questioning the patient, answers and goal-setting.

Simple Self-Help Tactics

Studies show that Vitamin D, is deficient in those suffering from depression, so it is very important to take Vitamin D or spend ten minutes every day, out in the sun, letting it shine on your skin, as the body manufacturers Vitamin D directly from sunlight.

Exercise is a first line of therapy for mild to moderate depression. Doing three weekly sessions of cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running or swimming, can help to lift mood.

St. John’s Wort

Studies have shown it acts as a mild anti-depressant if 300mg are taken daily. Tell your doctor if you are taking other medication, as it is not safe taken with certain drugs and can interfere with birth control.

A Personal Look at Depression - Meghan Rienks


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