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Cheat Sheet

Managing Depression with CBT For Dummies (UK Edition)

From Managing Depression with CBT For Dummies by Brian Thomson, Matt Broadway-Horner

This Cheat Sheet provides some key tips for managing your depression. Here you’ll find advice on recognising depression and on where to get help, and some tips for tackling your symptoms.

Checking Symptoms of Sadness, Misery and Depression

The symptoms of sadness, misery and depression are often confused. To help you identify the experience that applies to you, take a look at the following list:

  • Sadness is an emotional response to experiencing life events that awaken a melancholy, sorrowful or heavy-hearted feeling.

  • Misery is also a response to life circumstances and is best thought of as a prolonged state of sadness that occurs when people find themselves in negative circumstances for a long period of time.

  • Depression is a psychological and emotional state of prolonged sadness accompanied by physical symptoms such as appetite changes, sleep disturbance, low energy, aches and pains and poor concentration, along with feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness and loss of motivation.

Obtaining Further Help for Depression

If you think you’re depressed, and you feel that you need additional assistance during your journey back to a happy, fulfilling life, you can find support from the following sources:

  • Your doctor can assess your condition and decide whether you may benefit from medication or need support from other mental-health professionals.

  • CBT psychotherapists can be helpful in tackling depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for depression (as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence – NICE), because of the overwhelming evidence that it works. Make sure that you choose an accredited therapist.

  • Other therapists or counsellors can be helpful in offering alternatives to CBT. Many different forms of therapy and treatment exist, including some dubious or untested therapies, so do be careful. Ensure that you work with a therapist who’s registered with a professional body and has been properly trained.

  • The Internet can be an excellent resource if used with caution. Please remember that the Internet has a lot of bad as well as good sites and can never replace professional help.

Remembering Some Crucial Tips for Banishing Depression

Many people bury their heads in the sand when they become depressed and hope their depression will go away. These tips can help you to banish your depression sooner and prevent depression taking hold again in the future:

  • Don’t just wait for it to go away. Depression can last for years if untreated, and so start with some self-help. If you still feel you need more help, contact a professional.

  • Depression can be treated. Don’t give up. Keep seeking help until you recover.

  • Don’t blame yourself. And don’t tell yourself that you’re a hopeless case. Doing so is never helpful and impedes your recovery.

  • *Avoid alcohol, and seek professional help urgently if you feel suicidal or hopeless. Don’t ignore these thoughts; help is available. If you need urgent help outside working hours, contact the Samaritans (tel: 08457-909090; email: jo@samaritans.org) or visit your local hospital’s emergency department.

Tackling a Low Mood with CBT

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sees depression as occurring in three areas, affecting your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Therefore, to tackle your depression you need to take effective action in each of these areas.

Here you’ll find just a few key tips for tackling your low mood in these areas.

  • Get active. Although physical exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing, it’s an effective way of raising your mood.

  • Find the joy in every day. Make a list of all the things in your life that you like, however small: a smile, a flower, a piece of chocolate, and so on. Try to really enjoy these small blessings and spend time thinking about them.

  • Don’t procrastinate. If you have things you feel bad about not doing, make a list and set yourself realistic goals to tackle them. You’ll feel better for it. Reward yourself with a treat for each goal you achieve.

  • Make someone else happy. This is a very effective way of starting to feel better and raising your happiness levels. Give it a try.

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