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Toronto psychologist
Depression Management


Depression can be a very difficult mood to overcome. If you suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, it can be even more challenging. The experience of depression might leave you feeling really hopeless and stuck. You might also be experiencing other depression symptoms such as sadness, a lack of pleasure in things you previously enjoyed, a strong lack of motivation, sleep problems, irritability, problems with concentrating (such as forgetting or not being able to decide things), feeling like everything is a struggle or inappropriate guilt. You also might feel like you are losing your confidence, your sex drive or be unable to concentrate. You might be compulsively eating or putting on weight (or under-eating), or having suicidal thoughts. You may wake up in the morning hoping today will be better, but it is not. The feelings associated with depression are very debilitating, and can significantly affect one's ability to perform daily functions such as tasks at work, being a parent, or even keeping up with important friendships or relationships. Luckily, if you suffer from depression, there are very effective psychosocial treatments to help you. 


Depression treatment has been demonstrated to work effectively with the use of cognitive behaviour therapy. Cognitive behaviour therapy targets the negative and hopeless thinking associated with the sadness in depression and has been demonstrated in research to largely improve one's mood and motivation by challenging and questioning that style of thought. More specifically, the central focus in approaching depression treatment with cognitive behaviour therapy is to challenge the "cognitive triad". These are negative thoughts centred on three main areas: hopelessness about oneself, one's situation, and one's future. Cognitive behaviour therapy also looks at one's life to see how one's environment is structured. In most cases, individuals suffering depression have reduced "positive rewards" in their everyday lives, and this serves to increase sadness and guilt. The depression is then further exacerbated by avoidance, which creates a vicious circle of lost opportunities. Treatment of depression using cognitive behaviour therapy has been shown to be very effective in clinical trials to reduce these symptoms and is equally or more effective than administration of antidepressants alone (which can have negative side effects and high relapse rates).

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