Helping you meet life's challenges

Depression and Families

  
Depression is the number one health problem in Australia for both males and females.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports these worrying statistics for children and adults.
Males 10 –14 Depression rated 10th leading cause of disease.
Males 15 –24 Depression rated 7th
Males 25— 64 Depression rated 3rd. In this group only heart disease, suicide and self inflicted injuries rate higher.
In females the incidence is even greater. In the 0 –14 age group depression rates as the 6th leading cause of disease. Then for both age groups 15—24 and 25—64 it jumps up the list to become the NUMBER 1 cause of disease.
While these figures are shocking they do not truly reflect the impact that depression in one family member can have on children, partners and extended family. 
Every day at Thinking Families we work with depressed patients, often in conjunction with their General Practitioner or Psychiatrist to help them deal with the underlying causes of their depression. We frequently meet with the client’s family to help them understand the nature of the illness and how the symptoms can affect their family member.
The Royal Australian New Zealand College of Psychiatrists recommends Cognitive Behavior Therapy or Interpersonal Therapy in conjunction with anti-depressant treatment as the gold standard treatment for depression. At Thinking Families we are able to tailor treatments to meet the particular needs of our clients.

 

Maudsley Model—Effective Therapy for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa

The Maudsley Model is the ‘gold standard’ treatment for adolescent Anorexia Nervosa, the psychiatric disorder with the highest mortality rate. Developed by Psychiatrist Christopher Dare over more than 20 years, it is a family based treatment which has a strong evidence base and impressive outcomes.

The model is a 3 stage treatment which occurs over 6 to 9 months and is based on parents taking control of all aspects of the adolescent’s food and eating while working together to encourage the young person to eat. Parents are supported and coached through this process to return their child to health. 

In 2005/6 I was trained in the model by staff from Westmead Children’s Hospital, Sydney, the main Maudsley training hub in Australia, and then had a further 12 months of supervised practice with their practitioners.  

Over the past 10years I have worked with more than 200 families using this program and have found it to be far more successful than any other approach.

Another important aspect of the treatment is the role of the General Practitioner in maintaining a careful watch on the young person’s physical status. This is especially so in the first 6 weeks of treatment when parents are required to have the young person reviewed weekly by their GP. In some cases antidepressant or anti-psychotic medication may also need monitoring by either the GP or Psychiatrist.

For more than half of my working life as a Family Therapist I have also worked with young people with Anorexia Nervosa.  This is the most effective treatment approach I have found and the research literature echoes this view.