What is Depression?
Depression is a common yet serious mood disorder that causes changes in how one thinks, feels and handles daily activities (nimh.nih). Depression is marked by prolonged sadness, difficulty concentrating, feelings of rejection and hopelessness and significant increases and decreases in appetite (merriam-webster).
Types of Depression
One kind of depression is Postpartum Depression. Women suffering with this disorder experience full blown symptoms of depression with feelings of anxiety, sadness and exhaustion that make it difficult, if not impossible, to complete the necessary daily activities to take care of themselves and their baby.
Another type of depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder. This depression is triggered during the winter months when natural sunlight is scarce. Those with this disorder usually withdrawal from social interactions, gain weight and sleep more often. These symptoms typically disappear or lessen in the spring and summer seasons.
A third kind of depression is Psychotic Depression. This occurs when an individual has severe depression along with some form of psychosis, such as delusions or hallucinations. These delusions consist of disturbing false beliefs, while the hallucinations are upsetting visuals and voices that others cannot see or hear.
Bipolar Disorder is different from depression but still considered a mood disorder and consists of extreme mood swings (highs and lows) that may meet the criteria for major depression (nimh.nih).
Major Depression or Major Depressive Disorder is what professionals consider when someone says they are depressed. Like the more specific types of depression listed above, this is a more enduring and general depression that includes symptoms of low mood, loss of pleasure, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts. There are additional symptoms as well. The cause of this depression may be genetic, a significant event, or a series of things.
Other Symptoms of Depression
Individuals with depression typically feel hopeless, deep sadness, worthlessness and guilt. They have trouble concentrating and may eat and/or sleep too little or too much. Those with depression have less energy and a loss in enthusiasm for the activities they once enjoyed. They may become irritable and experience aches and pains with no known cause (webmd).
Treatment for Depression
The three of the most common treatments for those suffering from depression are psychotherapy, changes in one’s lifestyle and medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps the individual to reframe negative thoughts and emotions and develop behavioral skills to prevent the triggers that cause depressive symptoms.
Psychodynamic Therapy aids in focusing on the underlying causes of one’s depression and understanding why the person thinks and feels the way they do.
Interpersonal Therapy focuses on developing the skills needed to maintain healthy relationships with others.
Changes in lifestyle for someone with depression may include a healthy diet, routine sleeping patterns, exercise and having a dedicated social support group.
Medications for individuals with depression can help reduce symptoms and stabilize their mood but is not a cure for depression. Some commonly prescribed medications include Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), which ease feelings of sadness and anxiety. Anxiolytic aids in relieving anxiety and tension, while antidepressants relieve depression and elevate one’s mood.
Treatment offered by D’Arienzo Psychological Group
We offer both long term and brief solution focused cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression and are happy to work with your psychiatrist, pediatrician, family physician, PA, or nurse practitoner to assist with finding the right medication for you in the event that a combination of CBT and medicine would work the best for you. We have two psychologists, three licensed clinical social workers, and licensed mental health counselor that all use a similar yet unique approach. Please review all of our providers to determine who you believe will be the best fit for you. Contact us if you have any questions.
This article was contributed by DPG’s intern and UNF graduate, Kaela Robertson.