What is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder marked by persistent sadness and diminished interest in things that you used to enjoy. It affects your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a number of ways. Depression interferes with your daily life by making it difficult to manage your routines, responsibilities, and relationships.
Depression is a relatively common (The World Health Organization estimates that around 300 million people suffer from some form of depression worldwide)- yet potentially serious - condition that can affect your quality of life. The good news is that depression is manageable and treatable. The first step is acknowledging that you might be struggling - which you have already done by finding this page. The second step is asking for help. What are you waiting for? Take the next step and reach out - it could very well change your life. Remember, needing support doesn’t make you weak or flawed. We all need a little extra help sometimes and our expert psychologists are here for you.
Am I Depressed?
Low mood (feeling sad, feeling depressed, or feeling down for most of the day)
Change in appetite (eating more or less than usual) with corresponding weight change
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Difficulty concentrating or thinking
Lack of energy (fatigue)
Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed
Sleep disturbances (sleeping more or less than usual; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep)
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or suicidal behavior
Many people experience these symptoms of depression without being depressed. You may be depressed if these depression symptoms persist for two or more weeks, and are not caused by a clear trigger such as death of a loved one, substance use, or health issues. We recently wrote a blog answering the question “am I depressed or sad?” which might further your understanding of depression. Read more about depression symptoms here. A recent study conducted in the US found that nearly 1 in 12 adults reported having depression.
Depression is more than feeling sad
Are there different types of depression?
There are several types of depression, and their intensity can range from mild to severe. The following is a basic guide to some of the different forms of depression. For more information, we recommend visiting Beyond Blue or Mayo Clinic.
1. Major depression
Major depression is also known as clinical depression, major depressive disorder, or unipolar depression. Major depression includes at least one of the following symptoms: 1) consistent low mood and 2) loss of pleasure in usually enjoyable activities and at least three of the other symptoms listed above. Depression is one of the most common mental health challenges that people face. According to recent statistics, around 1 in 6 women and 1 in 8 men will experience some level of depression during their lifetime. Typically this form of depression is described as either mild, moderate, or severe. We offer several treatment options at Thrive. The treatments we use are evidence-based and effective. Please see below for more information.
2. Bipolar Disorder
This disorder used to be called manic depressive disorder. Someone with bipolar disorder goes through alternating phases of depression and mania. People with bipolar disorder have longer waves of depression (see above for symptoms) and shorter waves of mania. Many people think that mania is extreme happiness, but that’s not the case. Mania refers to a period of hyper-elevated mood, high energy, euphoria, and racing thoughts. As you can see, depression and mania have contrasting symptoms. Treating bipolar disorder often requires a combination of antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, and psychoeducation.
3. Postpartum Depression
Women are at an increased risk of depression during pregnancy (known as prenatal depression) and in the year or so after giving birth (known as postnatal depression or post-partum depression). Postpartum depression is not the same as the baby blues. The baby blues usually occurs within a few days of giving birth. You might have the baby blues if you have mood swings, cry a lot, and feel overwhelmed after the arrival of your baby. These feelings are relatively common, which is why about 80% of women experience the baby blues.
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, can occur anytime in the year after you have your child. It lasts for two or more weeks, rather than a few days. People with postpartum depression experience severe mood swings, excessive crying, feelings of inadequacy, have difficulty bonding with their baby, and may contemplate suicide. Postpartum depression affects the mother, as well as her relationship with her baby, the development of the infant, and the mother’s other relationships. Postpartum depression, as with other types of depression, is both manageable and treatable. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.
What causes depression?
Depression is widespread; women experience it almost twice as much as men; although men are less likely to reach out for help and usually when they do it’s more severe.
There are many factors that are linked to depression. The three main contributors are:
1. Biological factors
Research shows that some people are more likely to experience depression based on their biological profile and family history. Depression is linked to certain genes, diminished brain activity, brain structure (smaller frontal lobes), and reduced neurotransmitters.
2. Psychological factors
Stress and trauma can trigger depression, especially if you are at heightened risk due to biological factors. For about 1 in 4 people, depression is triggered by a significant loss or trauma, such as a loved one’s death, marital separation or divorce, or long-term job loss.
3. Socio-cultural factors
Depression can also be triggered by our socio-cultural context. Many people struggle with their roles in society - especially when they believe that they are not meeting expectations. For example, we often see men and women who think that they are not living up to their roles as parents, partners, daughters/sons, employees, or members of their community.
Research shows that people with depression often view life through “dark-coloured” glasses. This means that people with depression tend to make negative assumptions about themselves, the situation(s) they are in, and their future. In addition, they tend to magnify negative experiences and downplay positive ones. People with depression will often ruminate (i.e., engage in overthinking) when it comes to their negative experiences or problems. These types of social-cognitive thinking styles contribute to depression.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Just remember - the most important thing is to be aware of, and recognize, the symptoms of depression and seek professional, licensed support using evidence-based effective treatments.
How is depression treated at Thrive?
We offer several different treatment options at Thrive.
1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a widely used type of talk therapy (psychotherapy), common for mental health. CBT is an evidence-based treatment, which means that it has been shown to be effective through clinical trials. This CBT depression therapy is evidenced based - conducted by professionals in Dubai. During the session, a CBT practitioner will work with you to identify the link between how you think, feel, and behave. We then work on changing these unhealthy and unhelpful patterns. The sessions are very structured and you will be given tasks between sessions to practice different skills. Ultimately, our goal is to make ourselves redundant by working with you to identify the coping strategies you need to manage on your own. Typically, we see clients for between four to twelve sessions. Dr. Sarah Rasmi is our in-house CBT practitioner, although Malak and Dr. Ola integrate it into their practice as well.
2. Integrative psychotherapy
There are many different therapeutic approaches: cognitive behavioral therapies, psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies, and humanistic and existential therapies. In addition to CBT, we offer holistic therapy. This means that we draw from different approaches based on our clients’ needs.
Malak Kamel (M.A.) is an integrative psychotherapist. Her approach is generally strengths-based, empowerment-driven, and emotion-centered.
3. Art therapy, play therapy, and sandtray therapy
In addition to talk therapy, we offer creative therapies including art therapy, play therapy, and sandtray therapy. These therapeutic modalities are a wonderful alternative, especially when people have difficulty expressing themselves verbally. Children and adolescents, regardless of their creative inclinations/abilities, have a tendency to respond well to these types of therapies. Talk therapy - especially CBT is also incorporated into the sessions.
Dr. Ola Pykhtina is our art therapist, play therapist, and sandtray therapist. She specializes in working with children, teenagers, and young people aged 3 and up. You can read more about dealing with depression at this NHS site.
What do we do during a session?
What we do in a session will depend on the type of treatment that you are getting. CBT is a structured talk therapy session with activities and exercises. Integrative psychotherapy is an unstructured talk therapy session where we explore whatever the client wants to focus on. Art therapy, play therapy, and sandtray therapy will centre on a creative task, but will also incorporate some talk.
Why should you work with us?
We are warm, empathic, experienced and non-judgmental mental health professionals (with the option for English, Arabic, French, and Russian). We combine the latest research and best practice with your goals to give you the best tools for you in our confidential and affordable depression therapy sessions.