Have you started losing interest in things you used to enjoy? Are you worried you may never feel happy again? You may have trouble sleeping as feelings of worthlessness and guilt overwhelm you. Alternately, you might have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, feeling too fatigued or hopeless to face the day. Do you wish you could feel confident and fulfilled again?
Many Individuals Struggle with Depression
Almost all of us will, at some point in our lives, experience loss, sadness or discouragement. And most of us will get past those tough times and go on to do just fine. But, in some cases, the down feelings don’t go away. When this happens, they can erode our happiness and our ability to function at the level we would like. If your life has been negatively impacted to the point that you have a tough time just getting through your day without feeling down, it may be time to get help.
Depression Treatment Can Help You Feel In Control
Depression is a mood disorder. Because we cannot directly control our moods, depression treatment focuses on helping you master the aspects of your life that you can control: that is, your thoughts and behavior. In treating depression it is essential to know how the various aspects of our personality – our thinking, emotions, behavior and physical perceptions – impact each other. Think of the ripple effect in a pool of water or the way a wind chime works. When you change your thinking or behavior, your mood can change, too.
Depression treatment might include the use of anti-depressant medications. Research indicates a client undergoing depression treatment should receive evidence-based therapy as well as medication. In some cases, changes in behavior, attitude, core beliefs and lifestyle habits can affect our mood so positively that medication dosages can be reduced or, in some cases, even eliminated.
Depressive disorders include, but are not limited to…
Major Depressive Disorder – You feel depressed most of the time and most days of the week. Your doctor can diagnose you with major depression if you have five or more of the following symptoms on a majority of days for a period of two weeks or longer. At least one of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or lack of interest in activities.
Depressed mood — Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy — Loss of appetite or overeating — Trouble sleeping — Fatigue — Feeling worthless, hopeless or guilty — Difficulty focusing — Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
Persistent Depressive Disorder – Formerly called disthymic disorder, persistent depressive disorder lasts for two years or longer. Not typically considered as threatening as major depressive disorder, symptoms include:
Reduced or increased appetite — Sleeping too much or not enough — Fatigue — Low self-worth — Difficulty focusing and making decisions — Feeling hopeless
Bipolar Disorder – Formerly “Manic Depression”, bipolar disorder is marked by mood episodes ranging from extremes of high energy, or “up” moods and depressive “low” periods. The “up” can last for days or even months. You feel strong and creative, have high energy and stamina and feel like you can take on the world. In the “low” phase, which can also last for days or months, you experience the symptoms of major depression.
A major risk factor for clients in the manic, or “up”, phase is that they will stop using their medication, believing they are better now and don’t need it anymore. In fact, they may find the need to use depressants like marijuana or alcohol to calm themselves enough to rest. This can hasten the onset of the depression, or “down”, phase; and so the cycle continues.
Medication can help control these mood swings. Whether you are in an “up” or a “low” period, your doctor may suggest a medication that specifically aims to stabilize your mood.
‘Situational’ Depression – While not a technical, psychiatric term, a depressed mood can arise when you are going through a difficult time, such as a death in your family, a divorce or the loss of a job. Your doctor may call this “stress response syndrome.” Psychotherapy can often help you get through a period of depression that is related to a difficult or trying situation.
While your motivation and active participation are important in treating any health problem, it is especially critical in the treatment of depression and all the mood disorders. In most cases medication alone is not enough to solve the problem. It is important to consider all of the features of your life from the friends you keep to lifestyle choices like diet, exercise and the use of alcohol. When this is done, you may be surprised what you learn about how your choices affect your mood.
The good news is depression treatment can help you learn how to live a happier, more satisfying life.
But you may still have questions about depression treatment…
Is it really possible to manage my depression?
A fascinating and significant fact in the treatment of depression is that the human brain is “plastic”. To put it another way, it can be “rewired” and is subject to change at any time during our lives. Research has proved that we can bring about the positive changes we want by shifting the way we use our brains: by pointing the focus of our brains in positive, life-affirming directions. This is “the power of positive thinking” raised to a new level, and it means you have the power to determine your mood.
I’ve tried therapy before and it didn’t work. Why would this time be any different?
While you may have tried therapy in the past with limited success, it is important to remember that you are not the same person you were then. Additionally, all therapists bring a different approach and personality to their work. I view the treatment of depression as a collaboration between you and myself. Rather than become the “problem-solver”, my aim is to help you feel empowered as we work together creatively. The goal is for you to become independent of my assistance and to feel competent and confident enough to move on.
How long before I can get my depression under control?
I have no interest in keeping you in therapy for years at a stretch. My goal is to be efficient and give you the best value for your therapy dollar, only providing therapy as long as it is actually effective. That being said, we want to be careful not to miss anything, leaving you with a band-aid over a more serious problem. You may begin to feel better in a surprisingly short amount of time, while more complex struggles may take a little longer. How long therapy lasts depends largely on your vigorous, enthusiastic participation. If you are motivated and work hard, this can be a great, enlightening process.
Happiness is Within Reach
If you are ready to begin the journey to managing your depression, or if you have questions about depression treatment, I invite you to call at (219) 309-3928 for a free 15-minute phone consultation.