Depression Therapy

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.

Depression symptoms

  • Persistent anxious, sad or empty feelings

  • Feeling hopeless or pessimistic

  • Irritability

  • 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.


Circumstances have an influence on mood and emotion, such as ongoing stress, shortening daylight hours, relationship struggles, or abuse. The stressors don’t need to be large. They may be low-level, but chronic and inescapable.


Genetics can influence a person’s predisposition to depression. Other times illness, such as hormone issues, injury, or head trauma, can contribute to depression. Probably the most consistent biological influence on depression is postpartum depression in women.

Physiological Influences

What a body is exposed to can also impair it’s ability to regulate emotion well. Drug or alcohol use/abuse, prescription medication, holistic treatments, nutrition, and toxins are just a few examples of substances that change how the body and brain function.

  • 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.