What is depression?
Everyone experiences periods of feeling low in mood and this does not signify clinical depression. Depression can be difficult to identify but if these low feelings increase in intensity or are sustained for a prolonged period of time, this is usually classed as clinical depression.
Depression is classified as a mood disorder and, in most cases, can be well managed, to minimise the impact on a person’s day-to-day life.
What are the common difficulties associated with depression?
Depression will affect individuals differently. People with depression may feel sad or emotional and struggle to feel motivated to carry out activities that previously they would have enjoyed. It can also cause people to lose their appetite or over eat and feel that they do not have the ability to cope with daily life.
Fatigue is also a symptom of depression and can cause a person to remain in bed away from others rather than engage in work or social activities.
If you would like to learn more about how we as occupational therapists can help people overcome common difficulties associated with depression, you will find some useful links at the bottom of this page.
How can occupational therapy help people with depression?
Occupational therapy can be an important source of support for clients with depression. The role of an occupational therapist is to help clients identify their goals and implement strategies to help them achieve these.
Some examples of how an occupational therapist can help clients with depression include:
- Teaching strategies to help with the fatigue that can accompany depression. This may include relaxation, pacing and prioritisation
- Providing structure to their days, to ensure that they are as fulfilling as possible. This may include implementing routines and forward planning techniques
- Building a client's confidence and self-esteem so they feel better equipped to manage their daily life and the world around them
- Improving motivation through focusing on small, realistic and achievable goals
- Vocational support to help clients return to, or remain at work. Through analysing what the requirements of a role are, the occupational therapist can provide advice on alterations to the routine, job role or environment to help the client function and achieve in employment