Therapy Services: Depression

Depression is defined as a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well being.

Are you feeling sad, anxious, helpless, hopeless, empty, worried, guilty, irritable, restless or hurt? Have you lost interest in things that were once pleasurable, have difficulties concentrating,

making decisions, remembering details?  Maybe you have loss of appetite, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, aches and pains or digestive problems?  Perhaps even thoughts or attempts of suicide/homicide.

All of these symptoms are things a person may feel when depressed.  Being depressed does not necessarily mean that you meet criteria for a psychiatric disorder.  Feelings of depression may be a normal reaction to life events, a result of a medical condition or a side effect of drugs or medical treatment.  

Depressed mood is also, for some, associated with psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders, major depressive disorder, dysthymia, bi-polar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, borderline personality disorder, adjustment disorder with depressed mood, post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders that sometimes follows trauma.  

Causes of depression includes things like financial difficulties, job problems, bullying, social isolation, natural disasters, jealousy, relationship troubles, separation, injury, medical diagnosis, childbirth, and menopause.  Traumatizing events that took place in childhood can cause depression.  Unequal parental treatment is also a risk factor.

In children depression often times manifests itself as anger.  Children often don't have the capacity to effectively communicate what they are experiencing.  When this happens and depressive feelings build they are often expressed by children as anger and defiance.  

What can I do to help with my depression?

Depressed feelings may not require professional help.  It may be the result of certain life events, or a side effect of drugs, medical diagnosis/treatment.  Depressed mood that continues for most days over a period of a month especially in combination with other symptoms may lead to a diagnosis of a psychiatric or medical condition that may benefit from treatment.

Physical activity has been shown to treat depression by increasing the levels of endorphins and neurotransmitters in the brain.   Exercising in a group allows for individuals to improve their health while building new relationships with others.

Journaling has also shown to be effective by allowing the person to organize their thought process and begin to set new goals for themselves.  Often times by externalizing our feelings on paper it allows us to have a new perspective and allows for honest expression of difficult feelings.  Lifestyle changes that may help depressed mood includes things like eating a healthy diet, mediations, exercise, wake therapy, light therapy and smoking cessation.

If lifestyle changes have still not helped your feelings of depression the first place to start is a medical rule out.  Not to be prescribed medication but to instead obtain a rule out that your depression is not the result of a medical condition.  After a medical rule out has been determined talk therapy has been shown to be helpful in addressing feelings/symptoms of depression.  Talk therapy provides the outlet for you to begin expressing your emotions and to recognize how your thoughts, feelings and behaviors are connected. By beginning to more closely examine your thoughts and how they are connected to your feelings and behaviors a person can begin to identify distortions and negative thinking that leads to negative feelings and behaviors.  By adjusting your thinking patterns and creating new positive connections your feelings will begin to change which will lead to more positive behaviors.  Of course this sounds easier said then done but that is where psychotherapy comes in.  By examining your thoughts with a trained professional a person can begin to create new healthier patterns of thinking which ultimately results in better feelings, behaviors and outcomes.

If you feel you could benefit from assistance in examining your current thought patterns and working towards creating new more positive thoughts, feelings, behaviors and outcomes contact Clarity Counseling Agency today for a free phone consultation.  We provide a licensed marriage and family therapist to work with you on identifying the source of your depression and working towards creating new goals and patterns to improve your relationships and outcomes both personally and professionally.

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