When you’re struggling with depression, you may find it difficult to enjoy life the way you once did. You may lose interest in your hobbies, isolate yourself from loved ones, or fight to even get out of bed in the morning. Daily life can be exhausting when you don’t feel like yourself.
However, depression can be manageable with the help of a counselor. You don’t have to go through it alone.
What is Depression?
Depression is a condition characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness or disappointment that could impair full enjoyment of your life. It may lead to feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, a lack of motivation, and a loss of interest in daily activities.
We all experience sadness or disappointment at some point, but when those feelings intensify and last for at least several weeks, it could signify a larger issue. Depression often consumes a considerable portion of an individual’s life, affecting their relationships and ability to work, sleep, study, or eat.
It can look different in every person it affects. While it can be triggered by life events, it is not always something that has a simple “reason” behind it. Depression can often be brought on by a combination of environmental, genetic, psychological, and social factors. These can include traumas or a life change such as marital problems, divorce, the death of a loved one, financial instability, or changes in your health. There are also circumstances where depression can happen as defense against other painful emotions.
Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms vary greatly depending on the person and the experiences they have lived through. This could include gender, culture, and age of the individual, although the symptoms could also change throughout the course of the condition. These depression symptoms can begin at any age and may vary in frequency, intensity, and duration.
Some common symptoms include:
- Ongoing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness
- Changes in sleeping habits (sleeping more or less than usual)
- Trouble focusing or remembering things
- Loss of interests in activities once enjoyed
- Strong feelings of shame or loss of self-worth
- Decreased energy; feeling exhausted by your daily routine
- Changes in appetite (eating more or less than usual)
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Withdrawing from relationships and hobbies
In working with depression, it’s important to understand the severity of symptoms before treatment. It can range from seasonal feelings of sadness as a result of the changes in time, a mild depressed mood that is challenging to shake, and even severe symptoms such as intense feelings of vacancy and despair.
Depression can also lead to physical symptoms of nausea, pains, aches, and intense fatigue which could present a challenge in your everyday life.
Types of Depression
In the same way that there are different personalities and people, there are a variety of types of depression that are addressed in different ways. 5 subtypes of major depressive disorder called specifiers have been identified by mental health professionals.
These specifiers provide therapists with a clearer picture of what treatment to offer based on the severity and the length of your symptoms. These include:
Melancholic depression is a form of major depressive disorder which has melancholic features, such as a noticeable down mood in the morning. Those with melancholic symptoms are often unresponsive to positive news or events around them. This includes several other symptoms such as loss of pleasure in daily activities, deep feelings of despair or worthlessness, and a persistent feeling of guilt.
Atypical depression is similar to the melancholic type, however those who experience it are responsive to their environment and experience mood changes. It’s often seen earlier in life in comparison to other varieties, usually in the early teenage years. There are several symptoms that are displayed, with the most common being a sensitivity to rejection, heavy feelings in the arms or legs, and trouble sleeping.
Catatonic depression is often associated with a state of stupor alongside traditional symptoms. Most of the symptoms are associated with movement and trouble speaking, which are common for catatonia. It’s a rare condition to experience; however, addressing the underlying causes of these symptoms is important.
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
Many are aware of the baby blues where mood swings, crying, and anxiety are common for a period of 2 weeks after a baby is born. However, a long-lasting condition might occur 3 weeks after birth with more intense symptoms that need to be addressed.
Postpartum depression can be associated with a rise and drop of hormone levels while pregnant, a history of having the condition in your family, as well as stress related to your current situation.
Seasonal depression, otherwise known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a term used to describe the appearance of symptoms such as sadness, fatigue, or hopelessness as a result of the changing of seasons. It often appears at the same time each year, usually in fall and ending in spring.
How Therapy Can Help
Depression can be among the most common reasons why an individual seeks the guidance of a therapist. However, a perceived stigma and a feeling of being judged often discourages those who would benefit from treatment from doing so.
However, the National Institute of Health reports that up to 80% of those who seek treatment show an improvement in their symptoms generally within four to six weeks.
There are a variety of approaches in our treatment. Even though this condition may look similar in different people, we work diligently to understand your individual experience, hear your needs, and learn what is most concerning for you and tailor our treatment accordingly. This may include: exploring current problem areas, barriers to happiness, and gaining awareness of more vulnerable feelings.
A therapist can provide a different viewpoint to engage the individual to view their state with curiosity and without judgement. By identifying the source of your depression, we’re able to find relief from the symptoms while enhancing the outcome of the treatment.
Depression can be a serious condition that can require a multifaceted treatment approach. With the proper care, it can be adequately addressed with lasting relief from the symptoms and signs that can cause concern.
It’s okay to reach out for support, contact us today.