Depression Help

Understanding Depression

Many adults experience depression, it is one of the most common of all mental health disorders. It is estimated by WHO (World Health Organization) that by the year 2020, it will be the second leading cause of all disabilities world wide. In 2017 there was an estimated 17.3 million adults, over 18 years of age, in the U.S. that had suffered at least one major depressive episode. It is prevalent in every ethnic, racial and socioeconomic background and can lead to social isolation as well as problems with family and work relationships.

If you find that you are experiencing extended periods of depression that adversely impacts your daily functions and activities, it is time to seek professional help.

Although clinical depression can be a serious mental health condition, once properly diagnosed, it can be managed and effectively treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Medications can be very effective in treating depression but studies have shown that the combination of medication and psychotherapy (65% of adults being treated) is recommended for best results.

I have extensive experience working with clients diagnosed with depressive disorders and can coordinate with your physician or psychiatrist if an evaluation for medication is needed. Only medical doctors can prescribe medication.

There are the most common forms of depressive disorder.

  • Single episode: usually triggered by an external event, may resolve without professional intervention though many clients find therapy helpful.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): 2 or more years of depressed mood with or without episodes of Major Depression.
  • Cyclothymia: characterized by mild mood swings on a cyclical basis, does not generally interfere with normal functioning
  • Bipolar II Disorder: consists of depressive and manic episodes which alternate and are typically less severe and generally do not interfere with normal functioning. This is often genetic in origin.
  • Bipolar I Disorder: one of the most serious forms of depressive disorder, characterized by extreme mood swings from major depression to acute mania (euphoria, grandiose thinking, insomnia, impulsivity), with or without psychosis. Very often genetic in origin though initial and subsequent episodes may be triggered by external stressors. This is considered a psychotic disorder, one needing pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic interventions.

Common Symptoms of Depression


  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of energy
  • Decreased Self-Worth
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts

Studies indicate that numerous factors can contribute to depression:

Trauma: Experienced at an early age may cause long-term changes the brain’s response to stress and fear.

Genetics: Mood disorders, such as depression, tend to run in families.

Life circumstances: Marital status, relationship changes, social and economic changes and/or status may all influence whether a person develops depression. Grief and loss can contribute to depression.

Brain changes: Imaging studies have shown that the frontal lobe of the brain becomes less active when a person is depressed.

Medical conditions: Sleep disturbances, chronic and acute medical illness, chronic pain and anxiety can all contribute to depression.

Drug and alcohol use: Approximately 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have depression. It is important to have coordinated treatment for both conditions, as alcohol can worsen symptoms.

Please note – If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call 911, contact your nearest emergency facility or call the suicide prevention hotline at (800) 273 – 8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress.

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