Depression treatment

Whilst everyone can feel upset or sad from time-to-time, when these feelings are persistent, overwhelming or are affecting your ability to function on a daily basis, it may be that you have developed depression. It is important to know that you don’t have to suffer with depression - effective, established treatment is available. Priory has a number of clinics that are able to provide world class depression help, support and counselling, delivered by our expert depression treatment team. Although you might find it hard to believe now, it is possible for you to tackle your depressive illness and achieve positive mental wellbeing again.

At Priory, we understand that it can be very difficult to cope with depression, and that the symptoms of this condition, including experiencing pervasive feelings of hopelessness, can prevent many people from seeking the help and treatment that they need. Our Priory experts possess unrivalled clinical expertise in treating depression, and our personalised approach to treatment for depression ensures that your personal experiences and medical history are taken into consideration, thus resulting in the best possible outcomes for you as an individual.

What is depression?

Depression is a serious mental health condition and not a sign of weakness; nobody is immune to depression and people can experience it at any point in their lives. Depression is characterised by individuals experiencing such intense and crushing low moods that their ability to function effectively on a daily basis is impaired. These ongoing and debilitating feelings of sadness can lead to a reduction in motivation which can have a profound effect on your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as your behaviour.

It is estimated that around 10% of men and 25% of women will develop depression at some point in their lives. However, instead of women being more susceptible to developing depression, this difference may be due to the fact that women are more likely to seek depression help and treatment than men.

At Priory, we offer bespoke depression treatment programmes for individuals, which are tailored according to their individual needs and requirements. A specialist consultant will oversee your treatment, which will usually include a course of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and may also include antidepressant medication.

Our holistic approach to depression treatment includes varied exercise programmes as well as a nationwide network of support groups. We also encourage healthy eating and other positive behaviours to promote your long term recovery.

Types of depression

There are several types of depression which are classified based on the impact that they have on individuals and the symptoms that are experienced. These include:

• Severe depression
• Severe depression with psychotic symptoms
• Mild/moderate depression
• Bipolar depression
• Dysthymia
• Recurrent depression

These are outlined in more detail on our depression types page.

Treatment for depression

Although it can be hard to seek help, it is the most important step that you can take in order to receive tried and tested depression treatment and start your recovery journey. The treatments that are most commonly used for depression include:

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of psychotherapy that aims to tackle the negative thoughts that are associated with your depression. For example, when something negative happens in daily life, depressed people often blame themselves. However, when a positive occurrence takes place, they tell themselves that they've just been lucky. Depressed people may also incorrectly assume that other people are reacting negatively to them. CBT helps people to think in a more balanced way and challenges a person's negative assumptions about their lives. It aims to identify and change aspects of behaviour that may cause or prolong symptoms of depression.
  • Antidepressant medication. Antidepressant medication is typically used alongside CBT in order to complement the psychotherapy and act as an additional buffer against depression. The most common antidepressant medications used in the treatment of depression are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, antidepressant medication will be the first line of treatment for depression if:
    • Your depression is severe or comes and goes
    • You have responded well to medication in the past
    • You have not responded well to psychotherapy in the past
    • There is a history of depression in your family

Both methods have been found to be successful in treating depression.

In addition to the above widely used depression treatment methods, Priory are also able to offer an innovative and effective new treatment for depression at our new Harley Street wellbeing centre. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), is a painless, non-invasive and safe treatment for depression which uses magnetic fields to stimulate the areas of a patient’s brain that are involved in controlling mood. rTMS is a useful treatment for depression when psychotherapy and antidepressant medication haven’t been successful, or when a patient is unable to take medication.

Depression treatment outpatient package

Priory also provides a tailored 1:1 outpatient therapy package for the treatment of depression and depressive disorders. In order to allow peace of mind, our packages offer certainty of price for a set amount of 1:1 therapy sessions, discounted rates and a personalised treatment plan. The amount of sessions that are recommended within each treatment package is based on robust national guidelines.

Ultimately, depressive illness is treatable; that’s why over 93% of those receiving treatment for depression at a Priory hospital or clinic in 2016, showed improved mental wellbeing.

What are the most common symptoms of depression?

Depression can cause an extensive range of symptoms which can vary from person to person and also depend on the type of depression that someone has. Our depression symptoms page provides more detailed information on the wide array of symptoms that can be experienced. However, the most common symptoms of depression to look out for include:

  • Intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Anger, irritability and frustration
  • Loss of interest in activities that you once enjoyed

Causes of depression

As with most mental health conditions, it is likely that there are a number of factors that may increase the likelihood of an individual developing some form of depression. These include:

  • Experiencing stressful life events such as bereavement, divorce, abuse or social isolation

  • Alcohol or drug use (including prescription drugs)

  • Suffering from chronic physical health conditions such as cancer

  • Having a family history of depression or mental health conditions

  • Having personal history of other mental health conditions

How is depression diagnosed?

Just as a patient sees a doctor about a physical illness, a psychiatrist will look at your symptoms of depression and explore how they have developed.

A psychiatrist will aim to discover what makes you likely to suffer from a depressive illness, and will aim to explore:

  • Are you generally more negative or do you suffer from low self-esteem?

  • Do you have a family history of depression?

  • Are there unresolved long-term problems that may be contributing to your depression?

The use of alcohol and drugs, both medicinal and recreational, can also significantly influence an individual’s mood. You will also be asked to provide information about your medical history, as some physical illnesses, such as an underactive thyroid, may cause depression. Understanding your full medical history helps the psychiatrist to decide what treatment is most suitable for you and your unique depression symptoms.

The psychiatrist will look for a wide range of psychiatric symptoms. One of the most important first steps is to determine whether you are experiencing suicidal thoughts as a result of your depression, and take appropriate, immediate action.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding depression treatment and help, please call 0800 787 0691. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

FAQs about depression

Will I need to be admitted to hospital to receive depression treatment?

Most people can be treated for depression as an outpatient. However, some people may require more intensive treatment and support within either a day-patient programme or as an inpatient, at least until they feel signs of improvement.

What impact will CBT have?

By helping you to change the way that you think about life, you'll be able to accept failures more easily and take credit for your achievements. You will also learn to challenge negative thought patterns and develop new and healthier ways of evaluating situations. CBT aims to give you skills for life, reducing the likelihood of you becoming depressed again.

Will CBT work in all cases of depression?

Although CBT is likely to form the basis of a psychotherapy programme, other forms of therapy may also be helpful alongside CBT. For example, if you are experiencing underlying issues in addition to your depression, such as unresolved trauma following childhood abuse,  or are finding it difficult to come to terms with bereavement, these issues  would need to be dealt with separately, with the most appropriate therapeutic treatment.

Which antidepressant medication will I be given?

There are many different forms of antidepressant medication which can be useful in treating depression. The most common form of antidepressant medications used in the treatment of depression are SSRIs. However, the choice of medication is based on a number of factors, and we will discuss this with you and members of your family if required, during your initial assessment.

How long will antidepressants take to work?

Antidepressants take time to have an effect, often a number of weeks, because they're helping nerve cells to recover and resume their usual role in regulating mood.

Are antidepressants dangerous?

Antidepressants are not dangerous, so long as you take them as prescribed. They are not addictive and can relieve your depression effectively.

10 self-help tips for dealing with depression

  1. Admit that you have a problem and commit to working positively towards a better state of mind.
  2. Speak to a family or friend about your emotions – it is often the case that a problem shared is a problem halved.
  3. Write down three positive things every evening before going to sleep and reflect on these first thing in the morning.
  4. Make a plan of ‘where you want to be’ emotionally, mentally and even physically, and lay out small steps of how to get there.
  5. Make sure that you get plenty of exercise. Exercise boosts the ‘happy’ chemicals in the brain, known as endorphins, which causes an improvement in your mood and can help to re-wire your brain in a positive way. Even walking for a few minutes each day can help.
  6. Try and get enough sleep. Depression can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, but there are several steps that you can take to increase the likelihood of you being able to sleep properly. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, avoid napping if you can, remove distractions and electronics such as the TV and mobile phone from your bedroom.
  7. Make sure that you eat healthily and try not to overeat. There is evidence to suggest that foods that are rich in folic acid (such as avocado and spinach) and omega-3 acids (such as salmon and tuna), could help to ease the symptoms of depression.
  8. Set yourself a positive daily schedule in order to regain some structure to your life. For example, try and cook at certain times of the day and have time set aside to exercise outdoors, if at all possible.
  9. Avoid alcohol, drugs and any other negative influences.
  10. Make a ‘problem list’ then try and tackle the things on it one by one.

For further details on how Priory can provide you with further assistance regarding Depression treatment, please call 0800 840 3219. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

More Info

What are antidepressants?

Antidepressant medication will be the first line of depression treatment if:

  • Your depression is severe or comes and goes

  • You've responded well to medication in the past

  • There's a hitory of depression in your family

  • You have not responded to psychotherapy

Self-help for living with depression

Self-help can make a difference. Joining a self help group is a great way to discover that you are not alone and are not the only one to suffer from self-blame, rage and despair. Try to eat regularly and have a good diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables. Exercise will help relieve stress and tension, whether aerobic exercise such as jogging or more relaxing exercise such as yoga.

Please remember the following:

  • Depression is an illness, not a sign of weakness
  • Treatment is effective and there are many treatment options available
  • There is a suitable treatment for every person
  • The aim of treatment is to get 100% well and stay well


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