Depression therapy is the most common service requested of mental health professionals. Depression affects almost 7% of adults in United States every year. That’s nearly 23 million people who will have at least one major depressive episode this year! Depression is not just feeling sad or discouraged, which is something everyone can feel at some time. The people coming to me for depression therapy have a very real and diagnosable condition that has a significant and lasting impact on their life. It may be mild or debilitating, but generally has an effect on a person’s work, relationships and self-care.
Diagnosing depression can sometimes be confusing because it can have more than one cause and present itself in more than one way. If you’re not sure whether you might need depression treatment, here are some of the symptoms to look for. If you have at least several symptoms that are present for most of every day for at least two weeks time, along with a low mood, it’s time to get some help through depression therapy.
Persistent anxious, sad or empty feelings
Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
Feeling worthless, helpless or guilty
Lost interest in activities, hobbies or things that usually bring you pleasure
Fatigue or decreased energy
Moving or talking more slowly
Trouble being still or feeling restless
Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or remembering
Trouble sleeping, such as oversleeping or waking at night or early morning
Changes in appetite and/or weight
Ideas about death, suicide, or suicide attempts
Physical aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that don’t have a clear physical cause and/or don’t go away with treatment
In children, depression may cause clinginess and refusal to go to school.
Teens may be excessively negative and begin avoiding friends and activities.
Older adults there may have unexplained memory loss, sleep problems, or withdrawal
In men, the symptoms may be angry outbursts and irritability
So you can see that depression is not just the stereotypical picture of crying in bed all day. There are many different presentations, but all can be helped by a professional with depression treatment.
Causes of depression
There is often more than one underlying cause of depression, but these are the three areas to look at to help determine what’s going needs to be addressed in depression counseling.
- The saying with depression is that it’s often the depressed person who is last to know that they are depressed. Usually, others see the struggles more clearly and depression therapy can help identify and confirm a diagnosis of depression. That helps with setting a clear and effective plan of treatment for the type of depression you are experiencing.
- Depression therapy can help organize a plan for treatment that addresses the underlying causes. That’s helpful given the lack of energy and perspective that often accompanies depression and the fact that there are usually several different components that need help.
- Depression therapy can help process circumstantial stresses that are wearing down a person. Sometimes it’s traumatic events to work through. Other times it’s helping develop the skill and understanding for processing emotions in a healthier way.
- Even if your symptoms aren’t enough yet to make a full diagnosis, depression treatment can still greatly help by identifying and developing areas of self-care that will be preventative against developing depression.
- Get regular activity and exercise. You may not feel like it, but exercise is probably one of the most significant and immediate influences on mood and emotion.
- Be real, not ideal. If you’re in treatment for depression, you’re not going to be at the top of your capabilities yet. Set realistic goals for yourself for what you can do right now.
- Be around others you can confide in. It’s important not to isolate. Apart from depression counseling, find a trusted friend or relative. A support group is another place to find people who will listen.
- Improvements in mood happen. Be patient with the process.
- Avoid making life-altering decisions, like marriage, divorce, career etc., until depression no longer distorts your world view. If you have to make a decision, run it by people you trust to get a more objective view of your situation.
- Stick with depression therapy and continue to research depression to better understand this challenge and the help available.