It is important to distinguish between feelings of sadness and depression. We can all feel down from time to time or in reaction to something that upsets us such as the death of a loved one, a breakup of a relationship or losing a job. It is natural to have these feelings, however when feelings of sadness are persistent or are not brought on in reaction to trauma or stresses, a person may be suffering from depression as a disorder.

‘Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration’.


According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5) written by the American Psychiatry Association the following criterion is used to make a diagnosis of depression. The individual must be experiencing five or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either 1. depressed mood or 2. loss of interest or pleasure.

  1. Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  8. Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

To receive a diagnosis of depression, these symptoms must cause the individual clinically significant distress or impairment in their social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The symptoms must also not be a result of substance abuse or another medical condition.


Where does Depression come from ?

There are several causes for depression, but it can also come on unexpectedly in an adult, teenager or child who is seemingly living in ideal circumstances.

It has often in the past been attributed to a “chemical imbalance” and while there are measurable changes in the biochemistry of the body that are observed in those suffering with depression that is not the actual cause. The chemical imbalance may be a result of emotional states and not just the cause as according to Candace Pert our emotions and perceptions influence the balance of these bio-chemicals in turn affecting how we feel. It is a two-way network. There are changes in the levels of certain chemicals in the brains of people who are depressed, these include serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. Again, this may be in reaction to our emotions and not the cause of our emotional states. Depression is more common after a stressful or traumatic event such as a breakup of a relationship, bereavement loss of employment etc. Depression can occur in reaction to chronic stress. See our article on stress for more info on how and why that occurs.

From an biology perspective if a person has become drained over time, if they are in a low energy state, they are likely to feel symptoms of depression or even become clinically depressed. As our bodies are electrical in nature, we hold a certain amount of charge in our bodies and our cells. Our bodies hold charge just like a battery, and just like a battery it can become drained. This occurs as people experience the stresses of life and do not get the chance to replenish themselves.

Other contributory causes of depression can include:

  • Stressful life events.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Medications.
  • Medical problems.
  • Genetic vulnerability.
  • Physical trauma, particularly head trauma.
  • Serious physical and mental illnesses.
  • Lack of social support and friendships or estrangement from family etc.
  • Lack of coping skills in dealing with stress or ongoing problems or conflicts.

It is believed that several of these factors interact to bring on depression. And depression can affect people to varying degrees, so it can be put into different categories.

Mild depression

Feelings of depression which have a limited negative effect on your daily life are described as mild depression. For example, you may have difficulty concentrating when trying to study or work. You may not feel motivated to do the things you normally enjoy or daily tasks.

Major depression

It is described as a major depressive disorder or clinical depression when it completely interferes with your life, to the point of not being able to go about your normal daily tasks or work. Sleep may be totally disrupted and those suffering with it either getting very little sleep or needing to sleep too much, up to 15 hours a day or more. It can lead to hospital admission, as the person may be at risk of harming themselves or lose the ability to adequately look after themselves.

Bi-polar disorder

When an individual has extreme mood swings. From feeling elated and high to feeling low and can experience complete despair, lethargy and suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Post-natal depression

Many new mothers may feel drained after childbirth and can be very tired, feeling low or anxious. They may also have lack of confidence, which is very distressing but, in most cases, this lasts only a couple of weeks. Post-natal depression is more intense and lasts much longer. It can leave new mothers feeling completely overwhelmed, inadequate and unable to cope. They may have problems sleeping, panic attacks or an intense fear of dying. They may also experience negative feelings towards their child. It affects one in ten mothers and usually begins two to three weeks after the birth.

Both mother and father can be affected around this time as there is a necessary change in lifestyle to care for the child. Sleep patterns for both parents may be greatly affected which can affect energy levels and mood. Also, the mother may be experiencing feelings of anxiety or depression due to the changes in her hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone after the birth.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is associated with the change in weather patterns and the amount of time there is daylight as the seasons change. It can last from the start of winter right through until spring


How Claire Russell Therapy helps with Anxiety and Depression?

Claire Russell Therapy offers a complete and comprehensive approach to addressing anxiety and depression. This multi-faceted treatment plan utilises counselling, psychotherapy, clinical medical hypnotherapy, RTT, CBT, NLP, and nutrition to restore mental, emotional, physical health, happiness and biochemical balance 

  • Assessment of nutrition, food, diet, health and lifestyle factors
  • Allows the body to restore the production of stress hormones to the optimum level
  • Helps the person to process the emotional pain associated with past traumas & past memories
  • Identify the root cause and where the anxiety or depression is coming from
  • Brings more awareness, and deeper understanding to what triggers it
  • Change negative thought patterns and beliefs stored in subconscious mind
  • Re-establish and strengthen the connection between mind and body
  • Working beyond the level of talk therapy, counselling and psychotherapy

So much of what we feel is based on the interaction of hormones, neurotransmitters, and peptides within the body. There is a delicate balance of all the bio-chemicals within our brains and our bodies and they are constantly producing in reaction to stimulus around us and interacting with receptors. These chemical messengers are information molecules and they carry the messages of feeling. Our feelings also affect the production of these molecules, it is a two-way network

Depression has long been associated with an imbalance of these chemical messengers. We seek to restore the “chemical imbalance” by engaging with the sub-conscious mind of the person. Typically, the primary hormones and neurotransmitters associated with depression are serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. In standard medical treatment often drugs that address the levels of these substances in the system or the re-absorption of them by the body are administered.

This approach is usually paired with talk therapy such as psychotherapy, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy along with NLP, Hypnotherapy, Mind Coaching to help people change thought patterns. It is worth noting that talk therapies could be classed under the category of mind-body medicine, as they attempt to affect change in the body by engaging the mind.

Claire Russell is also a Registered Clinical Nutritional Therapist incorporating Functional Medicine and will work with your health care team alongside their approaches or independently of them as you require.

An individual body can be overproducing or underproducing peptides, stress hormones and neurotransmitters.

Improving thought patterns, beliefs and mindset to reset back to the optimum or normal levels. The person’s own subconscious mind through the autonomic nervous system resets production levels back to optimum within a few days to a few weeks. Often people will feel a change even over  three or four days of therapy. It can, of course, take some time for these levels to reach their optimum, but it is amazing as to how quickly the body can respond, in some cases, once there has been a correction made within the subconscious mind.

We also help to identify the shocks, grief, loss or traumas that have led to the person feeling depressed, as there is always a reason why the body goes out of balance.

It is part of our nature to hold on to certain hurts or traumas, human beings tend to repress and supress emotions. Some more than others of course and that will depend on your own personality, your upbringing and even your attitude towards life. Some of us have built up coping skills throughout our lives that help us to deal with traumatic situations as they occur or to deal with stress on an ongoing basis.  Working with Claire Russell Therapy ONLINE or in person in Newcastlewest, Limerick, Youghal, Cork helping you  to deal with and recover from the issues and thoughts from the past.


Even the most resilient people among us can still get overloaded and overwhelmed by life. There is nothing wrong with that and often by overcoming these experiences we become stronger and more resilient ourselves. Going through these experiences and coming out the other side can make one feel more grateful for being well on a physical, mental and emotion level and for life itself. We may not get caught up by so easily and bothered by the minor challenges of life after coming through these experiences. Ultimately, we may be able to look after ourselves better and become much more aware of our own energy reserves after such an experience.

Many people may not realise that when you are in a low energy state every little thing, every little problem can become amplified. The act of living itself can become extremely difficult. Daily tasks can become impossible challenges, or you simply lose all motivation to do anything.

When you are in a depressed state you can end up feeling very disconnected from everything around you, such as family, friends, work and hobbies or activities that once brought you joy.

This has a lot to do with the level of dopamine production in the body as dopamine is the pleasure/reward hormone. When it is producing correctly and responding to stimulus, we feel a sense of achievement or reward. It is a part of our intrinsic reward system associated with survival. Examples of rewards or actions that stimulate the release of dopamine would be saying hello to, or interacting with friends and family, getting work done, playing sport, and especially winning.

In a low energy state, you cannot process correctly, particularly on a mental or emotional level. Thus, you may not be able to process emotions associated with trauma, grief, bereavement, break-up etc. This can leave you feeling down and depressed over a long period of time and you may be unable to regain your energy or mood and get back to yourself. On a mental level you may find yourself with reoccurring thoughts, irrational fears, or constant worries.

Claire Russell Therapy, ONLINE, Newcastlewest LIMERICK. Youghal, CORK, using the modalities of Counselling, Nutritional Therapy Functional Medicine, Clinical Medical Hypnotherapy, Advanced RTT, NLP, EFT and Psychotherapy.

Together we address this ill health, these feelings,  thoughts and beliefs.  We help you (or your loved one) to recharge.  Working together bringing bodies and minds into a healthy and well state where they can process, recover and heal.

Healing not just on the physical, hormonal and biochemical health level, but also recovering to heal on a mental health and emotional health level as well.

Remember these emotional states are a two-way system, our emotions and perceptions influence the balance of these bio-chemicals in turn affecting how we feel

It is important to note that we have all been programmed to some degree by our parents, family, peers, education system, from our society and even from ourselves, through our own thoughts. Therefore, often the way you feel has a lot to do with the lens through which you see life.

We all have the capability to build up coping skills, and sometimes we need for our spirits to be lifted by the help of others. Or we need to take action and get help to truly help ourselves. Often when someone is feeling depressed this does not seem possible. Conversely, when a person feels they are getting their energy back they can start to do things that help themselves, better behaviours, better habits, better thinking and therefore leading to greater wellbeing overall.

Our bodies and the cells in our bodies respond to frequency just as well and often better than to chemical signals and they also respond to our own thoughts.  Bruce Lipton’s video on why our thoughts affect our cells and our bodies, highlighting the importance of positive thought and belief.

Human beings are social creatures, we are pack animals and do not perform well in isolation. There are exceptions to this of course but most of us need to feel that we are loved that we belong and that we have a purpose. So, there is no shame in any of us seeking helps from those around us, that is what your family and friends are for. Sometimes you need something more though and that is why people come to our clinics seeking help or perhaps specifically the type of help they cannot get from those around them. Unfortunately, some may not have people around them to get support in the first place and even that can be one of the primary reasons why the person is feeling depressed.  Claire Russell Therapy ONLINE and In-person clinics in Newcastlewest, Limerick and Youghal East Cork is open to everyone, by prior appointment, and especially to those that do not have any other support.


Feeling ‘Stuck’?

Sometimes during our lives, we accumulate so much emotional and mental baggage or “energetic debris” that we get “stuck” and cannot move on. We can feel like we are stuck in a type of low-energy state of feeling or mind, and find it difficult to get out of.

Often stuck or stagnant energy in and around the mind, emotional and physical body is in fact stuck or stagnant emotion. Everything including our emotions, thoughts and energy must be in a constant flow.  Just like in nature water should flow freely and consistently in rivers and streams.  When water becomes stagnant it becomes septic,. Or somethimes breeds creatures that spread disease such as mosquitos.

The energy flowing through our bodies must not become stagnant or we will become sick. That can be on a physical, nutritional, mental, or emotional level or even a combination of these.  We see these present frequently with countless mental health issues and physical health problems such as autoimmune and inflammatory related conditions.


Claire Russell is a fully qualified Yoga teacher and Yoga Therapist additionally, and recommends easily incorporated useful stretching and movement.  Which can make huge changes to our physcial, mental health and emotional state.  Stretching and movement helps us to release, relax and recharge. It helps us to get the energy flowing freely again through the body, through the muscles, organs, the internal pathways and energy systems.  So, when we are charged up, we feel our energy is flowing freely through the body, we feel we are in balance and then recover and feel well!

Sleep and Rest

Sleep and Rest are other especially important factors in people feeling symptoms of depression. Many people report great improvements with insomnia and their sleep patterns after the multifaceted approach used at Claire Russell Therapy


Diet and nutrition

Nutritonal health is also a very important factor to consider. If the body does not have adequate good food and nutrition this can affect how the body operates. The body needs raw materials to make all the different types of cells and tissues but even to produce our hormones, peptides and neurotransmitters we need to have the correct amount and type of building blocks, which are the vitamins and minerals that should be found in the foods we eat.

Organic and good quality locally produced fruit and vegetables are high in nutrients. Where possible we should be consuming nutrient dense organic free-range meat and eggs when and wherever possible rather than processed meats and fast food. As we know processed foods and fast food are low in nutrients and are also high in calories, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. Over-consumption of these may contribute to one feeling the symptoms of depression. A healthy Digestive system and particularly a healthy GUT is a great foundation for a healthy mind and body. This is something that can be achieved by maintaining a healthy diet.


If you are feeling depressed, or any of the symptoms mentioned above and regardless of a diagnosis of depression or not, Claire Russell Therapy offers an expert, professional, friendly, warm and confidential help.  A gentle, effective natural and non-invasive way to help you get back into balance and restore your energy, peace of mind, your mood, and your health.

Please  Contact Claire directly if you wish to attend one of our clinics:


  • Newcastlewest, LIMERICK

  • Youghal, CORK

We look forward to hearing from you and partnering with you on your journey back to health.

PHONE Claire:   087 716 88 44 



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“The role of psychosocial factors in the etiology and maintenance of depression.” Clinical Psychology Review.

The relationship between stress and depression.” Annual Review of Public Health.

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National Institute of Mental Health. (2023). Depression. Retrieved from

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