Depression is a very common psychological disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 10 percent of the population suffers from depression annually. Think of ten people you know, and one of them is likely to be depressed.
Symptoms of depression include: sad, anxious or empty mood, feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness, pessimism, decreased energy and difficulty concentrating or remembering.
The body may feel slowed down and fatigued, with difficulty sleeping or oversleeping and/or difficulty eating or overeating. There is often a loss of pleasure in regular activities. Restlessness, irritability and thoughts of death or suicide often are components of depression.
Depression is exhausting and painful to experience. Getting help for depression can improve your safety and quality of life. Counseling for depression usually involves support, education, stopping isolation by getting family and friends involved and helping to determine whether medication is needed. People in therapy for depression usually respond positively because they are eager to feel better, and feel like themselves again. Recovery from depression means feeling like yourself again and finding what is meaningful and important to you in life.
Some people have a type of depression known as bipolar depression. These people struggle from depression as discussed above, but have an additional complication. Their depression alternates with cycles of mania as well. Symptoms of mania include times of poor judgment, irritability, raciness, agitation, inappropriate social behavior, hyperactivity, increased energy level, talkativeness, decreased need for sleep and perhaps a temporarily elated and excited mood.
Bipolar depression is called this because the depression changes from two separate but related “poles” or mania and depression. Psychiatry has become increasingly sophisticated so that more discreet types of bipolar disorder are being detected and treated, earlier in life.
It is important to learn all that you can about whatever type of depression you may experience. Recognizing, predicting and eventually avoiding triggers, self-care skills, coping skills, changing self-defeating patterns, positive self-talk, and possibly following through with prescribed medication, can all be important parts of overcoming depression.
For some people, psychotherapy will be sufficient to bring full relief from depression. For others, a consultation with a psychiatrist for anti-depressant medication would be recommended. If you decide to take medication it will be important to communicate regularly with your treatment team. Most people do not know that the first dose and type of antidepresant that you take may not be the best one. Please understand that you may need to have your doctor increase your dose, or try a different medication, until you feel better. There are many types of anti-depressant medication, so do not give up hope if finding the right one takes time.
Your Rago & Associates therapist will guide you every step of the way as you find the right psychiatrist, medication and treatment plan to reduce and overcome your symptoms. Our experience with hundreds of clients recovering from depression, anxiety, OCD and other issues gives us the ability to share with you the ideas and directions that will help you move forward with your life again.
It is quite common for people to need to change their dosage or change their medication over time. Don’t be discouraged if this happens to you. Keep working with your psychiatrist and treatment team until you feel better again. No one deserves to feel the pain of depression, so work aggressively and creatively, and realize that it may take time before you feel completely better.
Therapy is often like putting together a large jigsaw puzzle. It may take many pieces and much time before it is accomplished.
Depression and Anxiety in teens and children
One in five children and teens have some sort of mental, behavioral or emotional problem and one in ten have a serious emotional problem. Sadly, only 30 percent ever receive any sort of intervention or treatment. The other 70 percent simply struggle through the pain of their emotional turmoil, doing their best to make it into adulthood.
The Brown University Child and Adolescent Letter (2002) reported that many parents simply do not recognize the symptoms of depression in their children. Even those who communicate and have good rapport with their children may not realize the signs of depression.
Adolescents and children do not have the same verbal skills or capabilities that adults do to be able to articulate their depression. Some of the signs or symptoms of depression or anxiety include:
- feelings of sadness
- lack of interest in usual activities
- trouble concentrating
- difficulty making decisions
- drop in academic performance
- headaches, muscle aches
- restless or irritable
- sudden change in appetite or weight
- low energy
- low motivation
- increase or decrease in sleep
- not wanting to go to school
- not paying attention in class
- spending more time alone
- isolating from others
- dropping out of usual activities
- trouble getting along with peers, family members and/or authority figures
Please get help for your child if you see any of these symptoms that persist for more than two weeks. Depression responds best when identified and treated early.