Although depression is experienced by 1 in 5 Australians at some time during their life it is important to note that depression is more than just a low mood or passing unhappiness.

Depression is a severe illness that is an extreme feeling of low mood that is persistent and that affects the normal activities a person may usually carry out.

Causes of Depression

Depression may be due to recent events:

  • Loss of Job
  • Loss of family member
  • Stressful working conditions
  • Relationship problems
  • Family problems

Depression may be due to personal factors:

  • Family history of depression
  • Personality traits such as tendency to worry, perfectionism, low self esteem

Depression may be caused by some medical conditions or medicines:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anaemia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Pain
  • Brain injuries or disease such as alzheimers, dementia, stroke
  • Some hormone medicines
  • Quitting smoking or opiates or other addictive drugs

Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms of depression need to be experienced each day for two consecutive weeks to be diagnosed as depression.  However if you are worried that you may have depression after reading this you can speak to your Pharmacy 777 Pharmacist about your concerns and they will refer you to your Doctor if necessary. Symptoms include:

  • Uncharacteristic Moodiness
  • Persistent low mood
  • Crying
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • Weight loss/Weight Gain with no apparent cause
  • Unable to sleep during the night
  • Staying home from work or school
  • Unable to get pleasure from activities you used to enjoy
  • Spending less time with family and friends
  • Being reckless taking unnecessary risks
  • Slow thoughts or actions
  • Feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Increased drug and alcohol use

Medical tests such as blood tests and brain scans may be done by the GP to rule out other causes of any similar symptoms to the above. A careful medical history and family history is also important to ensure the most successful treatment.

Treatment of Depression

There are several different options that can be discussed with your GP when considering treatment for depression.

  1. Talking treatments: Involve working with a clinical psychologist to learn coping strategies and deal with issues at hands.  These have been shown in most cases to be just as effective as treatment with medication if the persons attends sessions regularly and for a significant period of time such as a 18-20 sessions.

  2. Medication treatments: Antidepressants used most commonly nowadays are not addictive or sedating.  They have been shown to improve the symptoms of depression and when combined with talking therapies are very effective. Some side effects of the medication may occur but there are a range of different options and not all of them have the same side effects so if problems occur with one medication another medication may be found that reacts better with you.

Next Steps

Treatment of depression is important for your wellbeing and for those around you such as your family and friends who may be worried about you.
Finding the right medication or treatment for you is something that your Pharmacy 777 Pharmacist can help you with. It is important that you discuss your concerns with them or any problems you may be having with your medications.
If our pharmacists feel it is necessary you will be referred to a GP and on request the Pharmacist can write a referral outlining the treatment used to date and the concerns that need to be investigated.
Ask your Pharmacy 777 Pharmacist about our Mental Health program that can help you navigate your way through successful treatment of depression.


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