Are You Suffering From Depression?

You don’t have to feel sad to be clinically depressed. Withdrawal from friends and family or persistent feelings of isolation, not "fitting in," may also be indications of depression. The National Institute of Mental Health lists the following symptoms of clinical depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in activities previously enjoyed
  • Lack of interest in sex
  • Problems with sleep (insomnia, interrupted sleep, or too much sleep)
  • Eating problems (overeating or loss of appetite)
  • Decreased energy and motivation
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Increased restlessness and irritability
  • Difficulties with memory, concentration, or decision-making
  • Physical symptoms such as chronic headaches, back aches, digestive problems that persist in spite of medical treatment

If you have been experiencing one or more of these symptoms for several weeks or months, and your solutions are not working, you may be suffering from clinical depression. Clinical depression is caused by a combination of biological, genetic, situational and psychological factors. Some episodes of depression may occur without an identifiable cause.

Use of alcohol and drugs may be an attempt to self-medicate or "mask" your depression – or may in fact be the cause of it. You may not be to blame for your depression, but you can be responsible for your recovery from it. If untreated, depression may result in a downward spiral of self-isolation from sources of support and renewal.

How Does Psychotherapy Help Depression?

There are various forms of intervention for depression. In general, therapy with an experienced, licensed profession will help you:

  • Pinpoint factors contributing to your depression
  • Identify thinking styles and behavioral patterns that lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Target those elements in your life that may be resolved or changed
  • Identify or develop new options
  • Learn problem-solving tools and strategies
  • Improve communication and interactions with others
  • Set realistic goals and expectations
  • Learn how to accept what can not be changed
  • Regain a sense of control and enjoyment in your life
  • Build a support system to help prevent future episodes of depression

A serious depression impairs your ability to function in your everyday activities. By conducting a thorough assessment, a trained experienced professional is able to make recommendations about the best individual course of treatment for you.