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What you need to know about Depression

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

Hi, my name is Dr Sultan and I’m a double board certified adult and child psychiatrist.

Dr Ryan Sultan, board certified psychiatrist treating anxiety, adhd, depression and disorders

I specialize in anxiety, depression and ADHD.

Let’s talk about depression.

I’d like to start by explaining what depression is:

​​Depression is a debilitating mood disorder involving persistent feelings of unexplainable sadness, loss of interest in life, decreased appetite, low energy levels, inability to concentrate, and low self-esteem.

There are a number of types of depression, such as major depressive disorder (MDD), persistent depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, peripartum (postpartum) depression, treatment resistant depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, to name a few.

If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, there are a number of treatment options for you to consider. Treatment for depression usually involves a combination of self-help, talking therapies and medicines.

The treatment recommended will be based on the type of depression you have.

Mild depression

If you have mild depression, the following treatments are recommended.

Wait and see

“Watchful waiting” is the term used when your General Practitioner (GP) diagnoses you with mild depression, and they suggest that you wait a short period of time to see if it gets better by itself. Usually a follow up appointment is set for 2 weeks later to monitor your progress.


Being depressed can leave you feeling low in energy, which might put you off exercising.

However, regular exercise can boost your mood if you have depression, and it's especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression.

To stay healthy, adults should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week.

If you have not exercised for a while, start gradually and aim to build up towards achieving 150 minutes a week.

Any exercise is better than none. Even a brisk 10-minute walk can clear your mind and help you relax.


Talking through your feelings can be helpful. You could talk to a friend or relative, or you could ask a GP or you could find local or virtual support groups (see these on the Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s (ADAA) page).

You could try self-help books or online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), complete this short form to book a virtual consultation with us.

Mild to moderate depression

If you have mild to moderate depression that is not improving, consider talking therapy.

There are different types of talking therapies for depression, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and counseling.

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

CBT is based on the concept that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can trap you in a vicious cycle.

CBT aims to help you deal with overwhelming problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts.

You're shown how to change these negative patterns to improve the way you feel.

Unlike some other talking treatments, CBT deals with your current problems, rather than focusing on issues from your past.

It looks for practical ways to improve your state of mind on a daily basis.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) focuses on your relationships with others and problems you may be having in your relationships, such as difficulties with communication or coping with bereavement.

There's some evidence that IPT can be as effective as antidepressants or CBT, but more research is needed.

Psychodynamic psychotherapy

In psychodynamic (psychoanalytic) psychotherapy, a psychoanalytic therapist will encourage you to say whatever is going through your mind.

This will help you become aware of hidden meanings or patterns in what you do or say that may be contributing to your problems.


Counseling is a form of therapy that helps you think about the problems you're experiencing in your life so you can find new ways of dealing with them.

Counselors support you in finding solutions to problems, but do not tell you what to do.

You can talk in confidence to a counselor, who supports you and offers practical advice.

It's ideal for people who are generally healthy but need help coping with a current crisis, such as anger, relationship issues, bereavement, redundancy, infertility or a serious illness.

Moderate to severe depression

If you have moderate to severe depression, the following treatment are recommended.


Antidepressants are medicines that treat the symptoms of depression. There are many different types of antidepressants.

Antidepressants work by increasing levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, are linked to mood and emotion.

While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they do not always address its causes. This is why they're usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions.

Combination therapy