One in every five adults in the US will have at least one major depressive episode in their lifetime. Fortunately, depression is the most easily treated mood disorder. Unfortunately, some people don’t get the help they need because they feel there is a stigma associated with emotional problems. Feelings of depression often are viewed as a sign of weakness rather than as a signal that something is out of balance. The problem is, if ignored, a single episode of depression can lead to a life-long struggle with recurring bouts. Although everyone feels “down” once in a while, a major depressive episode can dominate your life and interfere with day-to-day living. Here are some common indicators of depression:
- loss of interest in normally pleasurable activities
- sleeping more or less than usual
- noticeable weight loss or gain
- decreased energy and fatigue
- a general feeling of sadness
- feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- anger or irritability
- agitation and worry
- even physical symptoms such as back pain, muscle soreness, and headaches
- If the depression is extremely bad, some people may feel suicidal.
Depression can be triggered by external problems: losing a job or a partner, the death of a loved one, financial issues, and so on. In these cases, a normal emotional reaction to stress becomes exaggerated and goes on longer than it should. Other episodes of depression seem to be biological in nature. You may become despondent and gloomy, even though there are no significant problems in your day-to-day life.
Treatment and Outcomes
People with depression who do not seek help suffer needlessly. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by a sense of isolation can worsen a depression. It’s not true that a person with depression can simply ‘snap out of it’ and feel better spontaneously. It is true that depression is highly treatable when you commit to getting the help that you need. Through the therapeutic relationship, I will help you to:
- Discover aspects of your life that contribute to your depression, and help you understand which aspects of those problems you may be able to solve or improve.
- Identify negative or distorted thinking patterns that contribute to the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that accompany depression. For example, you may tend to attribute personal successes to luck, while blaming yourself for personal failures. Or, you may “filter” what people say to you, only hearing the negatives, or criticisms. I can help you nurture a more positive and balanced outlook on life.
- Explore other "learned" thoughts and behaviors that create problems and contribute to depression. I can help you understand and change patterns of interacting with other people that may be contributing to your depression.
- Regain a sense of control and pleasure in life. Through the self-discovery process in therapy, you will be able to see more choices and gradually feel more joy and satisfaction in your life.
Medications can be very helpful for reducing the symptoms of depression in some people, especially for those with severe depression. If, after a thorough assessment, I feel that treatment alone would be insufficient and that medication would be helpful, I can help you get the appropriate medication evaluation.
For an appointment, please call: 415-255-4150