15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression.
Depression will be the second largest cause of burden of disease after heart disease by 2021.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Depression is a label we give to people who have a depressed mood most of the time, have lost interest or pleasure in most activities, are fatigued, can’t sleep, have no interest in sex, feel hopeless and helpless, can’t think clearly, or can’t make decisions.
15% of the population of most developed countries suffers severe depression. Depression will be the second largest cause of burden of disease (disability- adjusted life years [DALYs]) i.e. the number of years lost due to ill-health, after heart disease by 20201.
Depression can only be diagnosed by its symptoms – there is no blood test or other diagnostic tool.
The symptoms can range from relativelyminor (but still disabling) through to very severe. The definition of Depression tells us NOTHING about the cause of those symptoms.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Symptoms of depression differ somewhat depending on the different types of depression being experienced, but there are a few general symptoms that appear in most types of depression.
These can include:
- Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed
- Desire to avoid social occasions
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness (often with no apparent logical basis)
- Changes in appetite (either overeating or loss of interest in food)
- Excessive tiredness
- Changes in the speed of movement, to the point where it’s noticeable to others
- Changes in sleeping patterns (either a reduced need for sleep or sleeping excessively)
- Suicidal thoughts
These symptoms are also characteristic of many other conditions, which, I believe, can lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary prescription of anti depressant medication.
THE ROLE OF ANTI-DEPRESSANTS
Antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the country. One in 20 (5%) people in Australia are on an antidepressant, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Use of anti-depressants have tripled in the last decade and spending on antidepressants soared by 130%.
The biggest growing market for anti-depressants are for pre-schoolers.
Extensive analysis of the clinical trials of antidepressants shows they don’t work2. Or rather, for most people with depression they are no better than a placebo.
Drug companies are not required to publish all their studies, so they only publish the studies that show they do work to some degree. Studies are sponsored by drug companies so they have been hidden from public view.
A consortium of UK, US and Canadian researchers used Freedom of Information legislation to force the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to give it all the clinical trials, published and unpublished, for a range of commonly used latest- generation antidepressants.
The researchers analysed all the trials and published the results of their analyses in PLoS Medicine, a free, open-access non-profit science journal.
They found that for mild and moderate depression, the antidepressants were statistically no better than a placebo.
Latest research Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island has found that Antidepressant use in patients hospitalised with bipolar depression (BD) is ineffective at best, and at worst may be harmful to some patients as one antidepressant — venlafaxine — was associated with a 3-fold higher rate of hospital readmission. The findings were presented at the American Psychiatric Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting.
Clinical research at Duke University in the U.S. found that an exercise program can be as effective an antidepressant, and sometimes actually more effective as exercise releases endorphins. However, the researchers observed that despite this data, doctors frequently prescribed antidepressants.
HYPNOTHERAPY & DEPRESSION
People often have “unfinished business” with whatever has been lost, be it a loved one, a job, or a home. These unresolved feelings, such as resentments, regrets, blame, anger, guilt, jealousy, and fear are stored in the body and must be released as soon after the triggering event as possible. Otherwise they become deeply buried beneath the numbness created by the anti-depressant drugs, the addictive behaviour, and the concurrent repression that occurs when trauma and grief go untreated. Hypnotherapy works for depression because it removes the underlying basis of depression and completes the unfinished business that otherwise continues to recycle as self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviours.
With hypnotherapy, we can go down to the deepest level of these traumatic experiences, memories and stored emotions to release them from the mind and body. When this hypnotherapy process is completed, the client reports that their depression has lifted, that they have stopped the compulsive thoughts or behaviour, and that they are ready to resume living their lives again.
Consistent research and methodology refinement has allowed hypnotherapy to progress as an advanced form of therapy to the point where clinical hypnotherapy is now regularly considered as a treatment option for depression.
Working in tandem with a group of powerful psychotherapy techniques, hypnotherapy can be a highly successful form of treatment for individuals with depression.