Therapy for Depression and Low Mood in Edmonton
Mood fluctuations are sometimes normal and healthy
People often feel sad or down following a loss or a stressful event or on occasion in day to day life. Although it can be unpleasant, it’s normal and healthy to feel sad following a loss or stressful event or to experience ups and downs in our emotions and moods day to day. Usually our moods return to our “normal” (our regular baseline mood whatever that may be) on their own over time.
When therapy can help
You might benefit from taking action to improve your mood or motivation if you notice that:
Mood difficulties exist on a spectrum of severity and although having difficulties with low mood is not the same as experiencing depression, one does not need to be experiencing depression per se to benefit from therapy.
Whether you are someone who finds yourself thinking negative thoughts or feeling sad, down or unmotivated more often than you would like or whether you are someone experiencing what you think might be depression, therapy can likely provide some relief from what you are experiencing and help you understand the things that create and maintain low mood and motivation and help you learn ways to manage and change your mood, improve your motivation, and feel better and more engaged in your life. In fact, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be as effective as medication for treating major depressive disorder (1). Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) has been shown to be highly effective for preventing the recurrence of depression (unfortunately depression tends to recur so this is really important!) (2).
Am I experiencing "depression"?
If you are noticing that you have been persistently feeling down, sad, empty, or hopeless or have been experiencing a loss of interest or pleasure for more than two weeks along with some physical and other psychological symptoms, you might be experiencing clinical depression (technically called Major Depressive Disorder or Persistent Depressive Disorder) and would benefit from consulting with a professional about whether you are in fact experiencing depression.
More specifically, depression is defined by (1) Having a depressed mood (feeling sad, empty, or hopeless) or (2) Experiencing a loss of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities most of the day nearly everyday for two weeks or more along with physical and psychological symptoms such as sleep and/or appetite disturbances (too much or too little), fatigue, being physically agitated/restless or slowed down, having difficulty concentrating/thinking/being indecisive, feeling worthless or guilty, and thinking about death/suicide. Note that you only need to be experiencing some (not all) of these these symptoms to be considered to be experiencing depression. It’s also worth noting that although some people assume that because they are not so sad that they cannot leave their home or eat that they are not depressed, this might be an incorrect assumption. Although severe depression can look like this, it certainly does not always (or even typically) look like this. Some people function well in some areas of their life and have previously experienced or currently experience depression.
When and where to seek help
The best way to know if you might be experiencing depression or if you might benefit from therapy for mood difficulties related to feeling depressed or down is to consult a professional such as a family doctor, psychiatrist, or registered psychologist. It is worth doing since many effective treatments for low mood and motivation and depression exist.
If you are concerned about your mood and wonder if you might benefit from therapy please contact me for free 15 minute phone consultation. I am a registered psychologist able to assess and diagnose difficulties with mood and I specialize in providing counselling as well as evidence-based treatment for difficulties related to depressed mood and depression such as CBT, MBCT, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
I provide assessment and diagnosis for depression as well as treatment for low mood, negative thinking, and depression. Please contact me for a free 15 minute phone consultation.
If you are currently in crisis or distress please call 1-800-SUICIDE. If this crisis is life threatening call 911.
Amick Halle R, Gartlehner Gerald, Gaynes Bradley N, Forneris Catherine, Asher Gary N, Morgan Laura C et al. Comparative benefits and harms of second generation antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapies in initial treatment of major depressive disorder: systematic review and meta-analysis BMJ 2015; 351 :h6019
Davidson RJ. Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy and the Prevention of Depressive Relapse Measures, Mechanisms, and Mediators. JAMA Psychiatry. 2016;73(6):547-548. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0135