Any person young or old, male or female can become depressed. Depression is increasing in all age groups, but particularly in the younger teenage group. Females tend to experience depression twice as frequently than males, and depression is estimated around 40% more common amongst children, that have grown up with a parent that is depressed.

There have been many misconceived ideas about depressed people, that they are weak, or just feel sorry for themselves. They are told to ‘snap out of it’ or ‘there are other people worse off than you’. This is certainly not an answer and often makes the person feel guilty or worse about their condition.

Depression has many causes, and as a result has many viable avenues of treatment. Mildly and severely depressed client’s find themselves in situations that are enormously painful and who need help to find a way out. It can effect you physically, causing problems such as eating, sleep disturbance, a lowered sex drive, a decrease of pleasure or interest, fatigue and anxiety. Cognitively, depression can effect your ability to think clearly, making it difficult to concentrate, including poor memory, which can include errors in judgement and decision making.

Day to day living has become more stressful for some people, changes in society, a higher divorce or separation rate, and the general break-up of families, job insecurity, being too fat, too thin. Those who do not perceive themselves as successful, even with a nice car, house, or family. Pressures on children to do better at school, with the now increasing vast array of subjects, can lead to despair, frustration, that may cause anxiety, helplessness or hopelessness. Of course not everyone who experiences these problems or stresses becomes depressed. However, there are numerous amounts of people, thought to be 50% who go untreated because either they don’t know they are depressed, or a consultation with a doctor fails to diagnose depression.

There can be many underlying medical and psychological disorders that create depression where a full investigation is required.

Biochemistry can play an important part, however, the lack of genetic make-up in identifying biochemical imbalance that creates depression, has not been fully established. We are biological and sensitive to the environment, family and cultural influences. Most people overestimate the biological contributory factor when evidence is far stronger for depression having its origins, in the way people think about and respond to life experiences. (There has been no specific depression gene found).

Chemical imbalances such as serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine usually return to normal levels, when there is an interaction with psychotherapy for depression. There is no further need to take any medication to correct the imbalance. This suggests that the imbalance is the body’s physical response to psychological depression, rather than the other way around.

Sociology. There is a more important and established understanding that in a social setting, the product of family environment, plays more relevance in producing depression. Learnt responses from a depressed mother, father or other family member can provide that child with negativity at a later time. It is now a faster, more complex life, with higher demands placed on the individual, most jobs are not as secure as they were, there is more information technology, hours spent watching TV or on the Internet can produce poor socialisation.

Brief clinical hypnotherapy provides new ways of thinking and feeling within a short period of time, this therapy usually takes between 7 - 9 sessions. This is opposed to, often frequently long therapies. Some therapies can go on for many months and even years which, paradoxically holds that person back from going forward. The longer therapy continues, constantly reminds the client, that their problem is something drastic, with nothing happening in respect to coping or feeling better.

People suffering depression tend to think or ruminate about the same old problem over and over again. Thinking of things in the past that hurt them, or feel guilty about, things they have not accomplished, and that they are useless and hopeless. They say ‘Things will never get better’, ‘I will never be able to have a good relationship, job’, ‘I’m no good at anything’ or ‘it’s my fault things went wrong’. These unrealistic self-critical evaluations develop pessimistic ideas, that create low self-esteem and a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.

Providing cognitive, behavioural and interpersonal approaches within hypnosis, allows that person to think and feel differently and produces sophisticated ways of overcoming problems. Solutions to problem solving are imperative and significantly reduces a relapse. These coping skills and mechanisms are resources within all of us, which are identified and brought out, to be utilised for the future. Clinical hypnosis creates the effectiveness of psychotherapy, which enables unique specific and positive changes to take place in the depressed individual.

About David Kato

David Kato PhD is an NRAH accredited trainer. He provides day courses for therapists on The Psychology of Depression & Therapeutic Modalities at Bristol Hypnotherapy Clinic and at Littlecote House in Hungerford which is organised and hosted by David Reeves for the National Register of Advanced Hypnotherapists.

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