We all feel sad or down at times. It’s a normal reaction to loss or life’s struggles.
But when intense sadness — including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless — lasts for many days to weeks and interrupts your work, family or personal relationships, it may be something more than sadness. You could have clinical depression — a treatable medical condition.
Best practices in the treatment of depression usually involves psychotherapy. Often medication may be helpful as well because brain chemicals linked to depression, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, play a role in our mood.
Psychotherapy or “Talk Therapy” is my work with clients. Psychotherapy is not just “talking about your problems”; it is also working toward solutions. Sometimes I might ask a client to do homework, track their moods, write about their thoughts, or participate in social activities that have caused anxiety in the past. These are characteristics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy which I employ and is considered one of the best courseof treatment for depression and anxiety. Other times I use Family Focused Therapy when the source of the depression appears to be more interpersonally related. What course we pursue is determined through our consultation and collaboration.
The DSM-5 describes someone as having depression when they have five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks:
- A depressed mood during most of the day, especially in the morning
- You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.
- You feel worthless or guilty almost every day.
- You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and making decisions.
- You can’t sleep or you sleep too much almost every day.
- You have almost no interest or pleasure in many activities nearly every day.
- You think often about death or suicide (not just a fear of death).
- You feel restless or slowed down.
- You’ve lost or gained weight.
Family members can also be greatly affected when a spouse or child is experiencing deep or chronic depression. Sometimes I work with just the family members to help educate them about better understand what their family member is experiencing and how they might be supportive. Also, how to better manage their own stress because it can be very difficult to be along side a loved one who is suffering from depression.
I invite you to come meet me for a consultation to see what options are available to you so you and your family can move toward new health and well-being.