What is Depression?
Depression arises throughout the course of our lives. We all experience bouts of sadness and unhappiness. Feelings of sadness can develop because of loss, change, disappointment or a general malaise. Many times these feelings of sadness dissipate over a short period of time, however, sometimes these feelings seem persist and may interfere with one’s ability to cope with daily life and responsibilities.
When depression affects your daily life, seeking depression treatment can help. Talking to a therapist or psychologist can help you overcome depression’s grip on your life.
Depression’s Associated Disorders
Depression can coexist with virtually every other mental health illness, including:
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
- Substance use/abuse disorders
- Mood disorders
- Thought disorders
- Other mental health disorders
Related Mood Disorders:
Major depression is a change in mood that usually lasts for several weeks or months. Sometimes a person has one episode of major depression and sometimes these episodes can recur throughout the course of someone’s life. Major depression often includes the following symptoms: depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, disturbances in sleep and appetite, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, physical symptoms (such as fatigue) and sometimes thoughts of suicide. These symptoms often interfere with one’s ability to carry on with their daily responsibilities.
Dysthymia is experienced as a less intense feeling of depression but often lasts for a much longer period of time, sometimes for years. People with dysthymia often do not experience significant disruptions in their daily functioning but struggle with ongoing periods of depression.
People with Bipolar Disorder often struggle with episodes of significant depression and one or more episodes of mania or hypomania. These fluctuations can be devastating and can significantly impact one’s daily personal and social functioning.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
SAD is a type of depression that occurs during certain times of the year, often during the winter months. Although SAD is predictable, the feelings of depression can be quite severe.
Adjustment Disorder with Depression
Depression is often a response to life events such as loss, job change, relationship changes, etc. This type of depression usually remits over the course of several months, however it is often disruptive enough that talking with a professional can help with the symptoms.
Childbirth is an emotionally exhilarating experience that brings with it fear, excitement, pure joy and sometimes depression. It is estimated that up to 10% of new mothers experience emotional distress following childbirth in the form of postpartum depression.
It can be confusing that such intense sad feelings can follow such a joyful time, however it does occur and treatment can be invaluable to help you cope with the changes in your life and the feelings you are experiencing so that you can enjoy the experience of being a new mother.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression can be different for different people, however some common symptoms include:
- Depressed mood
- Irritability and restlessness
- Anxious feelings
- Feelings of emptiness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- A loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Disturbances in sleep and appetite
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Physical symptoms (such as fatigue)
- Persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment (e.g., headaches, aches and pains, GI issues)
- Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
These symptoms often interfere with one’s ability to carry on with their daily responsibilities.
The above list is a sampling of symptoms one may experience when struggling with depression. Everyone is unique so different symptoms that are not listed may show up. Thus, this list should not be considered inclusive of all potential symptoms of depression. In addition, some of the symptoms listed may be representative of other psychological or medical problems. This is why proper assessment and diagnosis is so critical to proper depression treatment.
Causes of Depression
It is often the case that an external event (e.g., loss, stress, chronic illness, difficult relationships, financial stress) triggers a depressive episode. However, sometimes a depressive episode may be a result of other psychological, medical, and genetic factors; or a depressive episode may be a combination of many different factors.
Commonality of Depression
Depression is very common. In fact, some studies have shown that 1 in 10 people will suffer from a depressive disorder in their lifetime.
Diagnosis of Depression
Accurate diagnosis of depression is very important and often involves a comprehensive evaluation of a person’s history and current functioning. Sometimes this is done through an interview with a clinician during the course of therapy and sometimes this is done through a more comprehensive psychological evaluation (to rule out other potential issues). Often a therapist will ask many questions throughout the evaluation process (whether it is simply an interview or a more formal psychological evaluation) that assesses a client’s history of symptoms.
Depression treatment may be necessary if you or someone you love has been experiencing symptoms of depression for more than two weeks. Seeking professional depression treatment may also be necessary if your feelings consistently and significantly interfere with your ability to function at home, at work, at school or in your relationships with others.
Equilibria’s psychologists in Philadelphia are trained to treat depression by utilizing an integrative, strength based treatment model to address each individual’s set of unique issues associated with depression. We pull from cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, systems-focused, and insight-oriented approaches to design effective treatment, consultation and assessment strategies to help our clients. In addition, sometimes the therapist and client will mutually agree that a referral to a psychiatrist would be beneficial for medication management.
Schedule An Appointment for Depression Treatment
If you would like to meet or talk with one of our psychologists in Philadelphia about depression treatment call us at (267) 861-3685, option 1; or fill out our online form.