It’s normal to feel “blue” on occasion or experience sadness in response to loss or a challenging situation in life. For most people these feelings of grief or sadness decrease with time and cause limited interruption in daily functioning. If feelings of sadness last longer than two weeks or are pervasive and interfere with daily living than it may mean that someone is experiencing something more than a normal “down” in life. The good news is that depression is treatable.
How do I know if what I’m experiencing is depression or something that will just pass on its own?
When individuals are depressed, they may feel overwhelmed and helpless. They may have decreased energy and motivation, difficulty concentrating, stop participating in routine activities or exhibit decreased productivity. One might gain little pleasure from former interests and may withdrawal from friends or family. Often people feel guilty for their depression and may have thoughts of death or suicide. If any of this sounds familiar to you, our therapists are available to meet with you to discuss what you are experiencing.
What does therapy for depression look like?
For an individual suffering from depression, counseling offers an opportunity to learn more about yourself, your depression, and strategies to create change. Our skilled clinicians can help individuals identify and deal with the situational, interpersonal, psychological, and behavioral causes of depression.
Our goal is to help individuals work to identify specific issues that contribute to their depression. Additionally we can help determine elements they may be able to improve or resolve the factors contributing to your struggles. Through counseling you will learn to set realistic goals, call on past strategies for effective coping with depressed feelings, and learn new skills for both problem-solving and managing difficult thoughts and feelings.
What about medication? Do I have to take medication for depression?
There are different types of depression, and for some types, medication and therapy together are generally the most effective treatment and may produce a quicker resolution of symptoms. Our therapists talk with clients about a physician evaluation when they think medications might be helpful.We can provide referrals to a psychia when necessary. For individuals who have been recommended to take medications and are undecided, our therapists take the time to help an individual sort through the personal pros and cons.
Sometimes I feel depressed, but I also feel anxious a lot of the time? Is this normal?
It is not uncommon for individuals to experience both anxiety and depression. In fact, it is not uncommon for depression to co-occur with a number of other problems such as substance abuse or problems with weight or eating. Therapy for depression may integrate aspects of treatments for a number of other related stresses or behaviors. Our therapists can help individuals sort through complex thoughts and feelings to better understand their emotions and emotional reactions. Through counseling our therapists can help an individual start to sort through what may seem complicated and start to create change.
What if someone is depressed but experiences mood swings where they are full of energy?
Some individuals who struggle with depressive episodes also have episodes of high energy that might include a combination of decreased need for sleep, increased impulsivity and risk-taking, increased irritability, racing thoughts, and grand, unrealistic ideas. Other individuals may only have the latter episodes and never feel depressed. These intense and elevated episodes might be a sign of another mood disorder, bipolar disorder. Our therapists can diagnose and treat the appropriate mood disorder, and refer to a psychiatrist if a medication evaluation is indicated.