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Understand Depression

During this time of transition back into civilian life, every ex-service personnel should be advised to visit a psychologist. This is to allow them to understand the effects of depression and how best to deal with these effects. With depression being one of the most common mental health conditions, the longer it is left untreated the more devastating it can be for the families that are involved, as well as the sufferers. Fortunately with early detection, diagnosis and a treatment plan consisting of medication, psychotherapy and healthy lifestyle choices, many people can and do recover. VST aim to stop depression before it sets in by taking a proactive approach and finding sustainable employment that suits the individual’s lifestyle and needs.



Depression does not have a single cause. It can be triggered by a life crisis, physical illness or something else—but it can also occur spontaneously. Scientists believe several factors can contribute to depression.

VST focus our efforts on two of the main causes of depression; life circumstances and drug and alcohol abuse which we feel is one of the main causes that affect our ex-service personnel and now our veterans when leaving the service.    

  • Trauma. When people experience trauma at an early age, it can cause long-term changes in how their brains respond to fear and stress. These changes may lead to depression.

  • Genetics. Mood disorders such as depression tend to run in families.

  • Life circumstances. Marital status, relationship changes, financial standing, health and fitness, employment, being around like minded people and where a person lives influence whether a person develops depression.

  • Brain changes. Imaging studies have shown that the frontal lobe of the brain becomes less active when a person is depressed. Depression is also associated with changes in how the pituitary gland and hypothalamus respond to hormone stimulation.

  • Other medical conditions. People who have a history of sleep disturbances, medical illness, chronic pain, anxiety and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to develop depression. Some medical syndromes (like hypothyroidism) can mimic depressive disorder. Some medications can also cause symptoms of depression.

  • Drug and alcohol abuse. Approximately 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have depression. This requires coordinated treatment for both conditions as alcohol can worsen symptoms. We find that if you drink heavily and regularly you’re likely to develop some symptoms of depression. Regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood. People who experience anxiety or depression are twice as likely to be heavy or problem drinkers. For some people, the anxiety or depression came first and they’ve reached for alcohol to try to relieve it. For others, drinking came first, so it may be a root cause of their anxieties. 


We believe that depression can present different symptoms depending on the person. For most people, depressive disorder changes how they function on a day-to-day basis and typically for more than two weeks. Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleep

  • Changes in appetite

  • Lack of concentration

  • Loss of energy

  • Lack of interest in activities

  • Hopelessness or guilty thoughts

  • Changes in movement (less activity or agitation)

  • Physical aches and pains

  • Persistently sad or irritable mood

  • Suicidal thoughts

We all need the sense of self-worth to drive us forward.  

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