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Understanding Depression

Guide

Our ‘Understanding…’ series is a collection of psychoeducation guides for common mental health conditions. Friendly and explanatory, they are comprehensive sources of information for your clients. Concepts are explained in an easily digestible way, with plenty of case examples and accessible diagrams. Understanding Depression is designed to help depressed clients understand more about their condition.

Understanding Depression Understanding Depression

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Guide

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Description

Everyone feels ‘down’ from time to time, but depression is more than that. When you are depressed your low mood can last for weeks at a time. While mild depression might not stop you from living your life, severe depression can make you feel suicidal and unable to function normally. It is thought that between 3 and 7 people out of every 100 will experience depression every year. The good news is that there are many effective psychological and medical treatments for depression.

The Understanding Depression guide is designed to help depressed clients to understand more about their condition. As well as a clear description of symptoms and treatments, the guide explores key maintenance factors for depression including:

Instructions

Our ‘Understanding…’ series is designed to support your clients:

  • Scaffold knowledge. The guides are perfect during early stages of therapy to help your clients understand how their symptoms fit together and make sense.
  • Reassure and encourage optimism. Many clients find it hugely reassuring to know there is a name for what they are experiencing, and that there are evidence-based psychological models and treatments specifically designed to help.
  • De-mystify the therapy process. To increase your client’s knowledge of the therapy process and the ingredients that it is likely to involve. If you can help your clients to understand why an intervention is important (think exposure!) it can help encourage them to engage.
  • Signposting. If you’re just seeing a client briefly for assessment, or you have a curious client who wants to know more, these resources can be a helpful part of guiding them to the right service.
  • Waiting time not wasted time. When you’ve assessed someone but their treatment can’t begin right away, psychoeducation can help them learn about how therapy can help while they’re waiting.

Each guide includes:

  • Case examples to help your clients relate to the condition, and to normalize their experiences.
  • Jargon-free descriptions of symptoms, and descriptions of how they might affect your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • A symptom questionnaire for screening assessment.
  • An accessible cognitive-behavioral account of what keeps the problem going, or what stops it from getting better.
  • A description of evidence-based treatments for that condition, including an overview of the ‘ingredients’ of a good cognitive behavioral approach.

References

  • Beck, A. T., Bredemeier, K. (2016). A unified model of depression: integrating clinical, cognitive, biological, and evolutionary perspectives. Clinical Psychological Science, 4(4), 596-619.
  • Beck, A. T., Rush, A. J., Shaw, B. F., Emery, G. (1979). Cognitive Therapy of Depression. New York: Guilford press.
  • Cuijpers, P., Quero, S., Noma, H., Ciharova, M., Miguel, C., Karyotaki, E., … & Furukawa, T. A. (2020). Psychotherapies for depression: a network meta-analysis covering efficacy, acceptability and long-term outcomes of all main treatment types. World Psychiatry.
  • Culverhouse, R. C., Saccone, N. L., Horton, A. C., Ma, Y., Anstey, K. J., Banaschewski, T., … & Bierut, L. J. (2018). Collaborative meta-analysis finds no evidence of a strong interaction between stress and 5-HTTLPR genotype contributing to the development of depression. Molecular Psychiatry, 23(1), 133-142.
  • Dimidjian, S., Barrera Jr, M., Martell, C., Munoz, R. F., & Lewinsohn, P. M. (2011). The origins and current status of behavioral activation treatments for depression. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 7, 1-38.
  • Ekers, D., Webster, L., Van Straten, A., Cuijpers, P., Richards, D., & Gilbody, S. (2014). Behavioural activation for depression; an update of meta-analysis of effectiveness and sub group analysis. PloS one, 9(6), e100100.
  • Kanter, J. W., Manos, R. C., Bowe, W. M., Baruch, D. E., Busch, A. M., & Rusch, L. C. (2010). What is behavioral activation?: A review of the empirical literature. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(6), 608-620.
  • Kessler, R. C., Chiu, W. T., Demler, O., & Walters, E. E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and co- morbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 617-627.
  • National Institute For Health And Care Excellence (2009). Depression in adults: recognition and management. Retrieved from: https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg90/resources/depression-in-adults-recognition-and-management-pdf-975742638037
  • Spijker, J. A. N., De Graaf, R., Bijl, R. V., Beekman, A. T., Ormel, J., & Nolen, W. A. (2002). Duration of major depressive episodes in the general population: results from The Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS). The British Journal of Psychiatry, 181(3), 208-213.
  • Stansfeld, S., Clark, C., Bebbington, P., King, M., Jenkins, R., & Hinchliffe, S. (2016). Chapter 2: Common mental disorders. In S. McManus, P. Bebbington, R. Jenkins, & T. Brugha (Eds.), Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital.
  • Watkins, E. R. (2018). Rumination-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy for depression. Guilford Publications.