Everyone has their good days and their bad days. We have all had feelings of sadness or an occasional case of the blues. But when these feelings persist, start to interfere with your life, or become a cause of concern for you or those around you, it may be time to think about getting some help.
Depression is a common condition that can be effectively treated. Unfortunately, many who suffer from depression never seek help. They may not understand what it is they are suffering from or, worse, they may feel ashamed and believe it is their own fault. This is not the case.The symptoms of depression vary greatly from individual to individual but some of the most common symptoms are:
- Sad or depressed mood
- Self-defeating thoughts – rumination
- Loss of meaning
- Lack of pleasure in doing things that usually make you happy
- Feeling sluggish, unmotivated and empty inside
- Headaches or body aches for which there are no apparent causes
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Trouble thinking and concentrating
- Low energy
- Changes in weight
- Feelings of nervousness or agitation
- Thoughts about death and dying
- Problems in relationships
Depression can be caused by life experiences or it can occur all on its own, without any external cause. Difficult experiences in any phase of life can impact our sense of self and our identity. However, depression is often associated with unresolved feelings about experiences we had earlier in life, while growing up. If we have not had an opportunity to process those feelings we may be left with deep and sometimes inexplicable feelings of sadness, hopelessness, shame and guilt, or unreasonably harsh judgments of ourselves, others and life itself.
Depression can also be caused by trauma, including war, crime, rape, accidents, abuse, and natural disasters. It can result from ongoing or recurrent relationship problems. Illnesses can cause depression, especially if they are life threatening or chronic. Brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, and in particular serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and acetylcholine, play interactive roles and can contribute to the development of depression, as well.
It is important to note that people experiencing depression may have other problems including social anxiety, generalized anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dependent personality issues, or phobias. Many people with depression also battle drug and alcohol abuse.
Depending on your unique situation, several different forms of therapy can help with depression, either alone or in combination, including:
- Antidepressant medications
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Couples therapy
- Family therapy
- Nutritional therapy including dietary changes and an increased focus on wellness and health
- Stress reduction and mindfulness-based therapies
It is important to know that depression is a common and treatable condition. You don’t have to suffer through it on your own. Please call if you would like to get started in therapy, or would benefit from a complimentary consultation. We are happy to answer your questions about depression or other mental health concerns, and to talk to you about a therapeutic process that is right for you.