Depression

Depression is quite common, so if you are suffering from it, you are not alone. An estimated 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. suffers from some form of depression.

Depression is not something you can get rid of by "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps." Unfortunately, it's more complex than that. Depression is a serious illness that can rob a person of a sense of joy and optimism. It can put a great strain on relationships and job performance. Depression can be triggered by a stressor such as unemployment, divorce or health issues or it can occur without any obvious cause.

 

Symptoms of depression can include:

 

  • Sad, irritable and restless feelings

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities one used to enjoy, including sex

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Increased or decreased appetite

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions

  • Feelings of worthlessness, guilt and pessimism

  • Low energy, feeling exhausted even when you've had enough sleep

  • Trouble with motivation

  • Headaches, stomach aches and other digestive problems

  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts

 

A milder, long lasting form of depression called Dysthymia often goes unrecognized precisely because it does tend to be less severe. It's a kind of low grade depression. It can be experienced as a general feeling of low motivation, low self-esteem and a lack of pleasure. People with Dysthymia may assume that these issues are simply a part of their personality. Though it is a milder form of depression, it can still have a very serious impact on people's lives. You may be able to function with Dysthymia, but you'll lack a sense of excitement and joy in life.

 

Treatment for Depression

 

Fortunately, depression is treatable. Treatment for depression can involve therapy, an anti-depressant medication, or both. Some depression is helped by alternative medicine approaches, such as Naturopathy or Acupuncture. Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy are both research proven methods for treating depression, and I use both in my practice. Sometimes, depression has its source in old traumas, in which case EMDR or Lifespan Integration might prove helpful. It can also be triggered by family and job issues. In these cases, therapy might involve helping you problem solve what kind of changes need to happen in your life and relationships, create a step by step plan toward desired change, and work through any blocks to executing the plan that arise. At times, resolving those situations that are contributing to depression can involve learning  better communication and assertiveness skills as well as emotion regulation skills. One way or another, depression can be resolved, even serious, chronic depression.