Mood Disorders

Depression

Bipolar Disorder

 

Depression

In depression and low mood there is a persistent feeling of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness.  This is a different experience from that of transient periods of unhappiness that most people feel from time to time.  Depression can cause a loss of interest and pleasure in previously enjoyed activities and reduced concentration, energy, and self-confidence.  There may be feelings of guilt or worthlessness and sometimes thoughts that life is not worth living.  It may be difficult or impossible to 'pull yourself together'.

Depression is one of the most common reasons that people seek therapy.  There are a number of therapeutic approaches that have been shown to be effective in helping those with depression and that can have long term benefits.  Mindfulness approaches have been found to be particularly helpful for those who have experienced repeated episodes of depression and wish to avoid a relapse into depression.  Therapy can be undertaken with or without using anti-depressants.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterised by a combination of manic and depressive episodes.  A manic episode is defined as a distinct period during which there is an abnormally elevated, expansive or irritable mood.  The person may have increased self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and reduced awareness of the consequences of their actions.  During a depressive episode, the person experiences the opposite i.e. low mood, diminished interest and pleasure, low energy, and altered patterns of sleep and appetite.  Both manic and depressive stages can have a big impact on a person's life including their close relationships.  Bipolar disorder is best treated with medication but this condition can also benefit from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help with negative thought patterns and behaviours as well as to provide strategies to help prevent or cope with a relapse in symptoms.