Using CBT to treat Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental health problems and it can be triggered by internal and/or external experiences, making depression a unique experience for each individual.

People who are experiencing depression describe “having a feeling of impending doom”, “living in a black hole”, “unable to escape unhappiness and despair”, “lifeless and empty”. They are unable to experience pleasure, even with activities they used to enjoy and therefore they stop engaging in life and just “go through the motion”.

People who suffer from an episode of depression often notice how their thoughts are dark, negative and distorted. Everything looks bleak and they hold extremely negative views of themselves, their situation, and the future. They feel consumed by negativity, unable to escape. They tend to become self-obsessed and feel hopeless and helpless and may consider suicide as their only way out of depression.

Helpful websites for managing Depression

“CBT is the most effective psychological treatment for moderate and severe depression”
Royal College of Psychiatrists

There are many symptoms of depression and they may vary from an individual to another in their nature and intensity:

  • Feeling hopeless, sad, discouraged and empty for most of the day, every day for at least two weeks.
  • Loss of enjoyment and interest in life, including former hobbies, social activities and sex.
  • Poor appetite, significant weight gain/loss.
  • Poor sleep or oversleeping.
  • Agitated, restless or sluggish, lack of responsiveness, slow speech and body movement.
  • Fatigue or loss of energy, even simple tasks become exhausting.
  • Strong feelings of self-loathing, guilt or worthlessness.
  • Loss of concentration and memory problems.
  • Irritability, frustration and anger.
  • Aches and pains including headaches, backaches, diarrhoea or constipation, abdominal pain, and aching joints.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, preoccupation with death and dying which could lead to suicidal intents and acts. These suicidal ideations should always be taken seriously and professional help should be sought.

The severities of these symptoms vary, however, as a general rule the more symptoms, the acuter the depression is likely to be.