Anteris is pleased to be able to offer the service of specialists in the Psychiatry of Depression.
Major Depressive Disorder is a mental health problem characterized by low mood, low energy levels, and difficulty with enjoyment and motivation. Sleep and appetite changes are common in depression. There are a number of possible causes including physical illness, genetic predisposition, life experience, and substance use.
The severity of depression varies greatly, and people with mild depression may not need specific treatment other than making some lifestyle adjustments. At the other extreme, intensive psychotherapy and medication may be required. Some treatment-resistant conditions can cause years of illness and require consideration of medication combinations, the use of monoamine oxidase inhibitor drugs, or ketamine therapy. Severe illness may be complicated by psychotic symptoms and suicidal thinking. Typically, psychiatric treatment is most beneficial to people with moderate to severe cases of depression.
Depression is not the same as being unhappy. Unhappiness related to life events such as grief is usually transient and improves naturally with time. A good way of getting an idea of the severity of depression is by using rating scales – the DASS-21 gives a snapshot of how you have been doing over the last week and rates the severity of depression, anxiety and stress scores and may give you a clearer idea of where you fit within the spectrum of psychological discomfort. This test takes about two minutes and can be found here: https://www.thecalculator.co/health/DASS-21-Depression-Anxiety-Stress-Scale-Test-938.html
Your GP, counsellor or psychologist will be able to provide further guidance about what to do if you are depressed. Many people with mild depression will benefit from simple changes such as having a break from work, cutting down on alcohol, and getting more exercise. People with more severe conditions will likely need specific treatment for depression which may include medication and specialist referral.
Lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol and other drugs, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise can all be very helpful, but many people want to do more. Many Public Health Organisations offer 4-6 sessions of counselling free, and this is accessible by asking your GP for a referral. Brief psychotherapy can be extremely helpful in supporting you to make changes.
The onset of depression becomes more likely with advancing age. However, unfortunately, depression amongst teenagers is not uncommon and they may find it particularly difficult to bear. Most GPs are not comfortable prescribing antidepressant medications to teenagers under 18, and for good reason – only some antidepressant medications have been found useful in this population, and the earlier the onset of depression, the more likely it is that the patient may have bipolar disorder. A careful and expert assessment by a child psychiatrist should take place before medication is prescribed. Psychological treatment with a counsellor or psychologist experienced with youth is almost always a useful idea, and your GP or a health directory such as www.healthpoint.co.nz may be a good place to start.
The treatment of depression in the elderly is sometimes complicted by medical illness. Specialists in psychogeriatrics are experts in the treatment of people over 65 with mood disorders.
Anteris has a range of consultant psychiatrists with expertise in treating mood disorders, including depression. We cater for patients across the lifespan and offer a range of treatments. You may wish to see one of our doctors in Tauranga, Hamilton or Auckland, or online via audiovisual link. If you would like to arrange to be assessed, we accept referrals from GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists.
Find out more about Caleb Armstrong, his experience, qualifications and professional affiliations.
Find out more about Dr Eileen Vuong, her experience, qualifications and professional affiliations.
Find out more about Eamon Egan, his experience, qualifications and professional affiliations.
If there is anything that you are concerned about please visit your GP so they can organise a referral to see us at Anteris.
If it's an emergency please contact local mental health services for crisis support.