GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC


What Is Depression?

Depression is a very serious mental health disorder. It is a disorder that affects many people at varying degrees around the world. Many people think depression is when a person gets really sad, but really it is much more than that. Depression is a withstanding condition that is more than just sadness. It creates many other negative emotions like numbness, despondence, and low self-esteem. Some even describe it as feeling like there is a weight on their shoulders or chest. Depression is a heavy and sometimes debilitating condition. It is very difficult to live with depression on a daily basis.

Symptoms Of Depression

Depression affects everyone differently. For many people, the environment affects their depression. Others are affected by their internal dialog and low self-esteem. It can even be due to genetics or family history. There are many different symptoms for depression that range from mild to severe. Such symptoms include:

  • Sadness
  • Crying
  • Feeling numb
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of interest in socializing
  • Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Anxiety
  • Tight feeling in chest
  • Headaches
  • Heavy feeling throughout the body
  • Self-defeating thoughts
  • Despondence
  • Suicidal thoughts

Depression Causes And Risk Factors

There are many factors that contribute to the onset of depression. Some cases of depression are situational, while others are based on prolonged issues. Each case of depression is triggered from different circumstances. Common causes and risk factors include:

  • Difficult situations can contribute to the onset of depression. Issues like stress, trauma, or grief all can cause a person to become depressed. People will also feel depressed if they do not have control of themselves or their circumstances. Furthermore, chronic mental or physical illness will cause depression in many people.
  • Environment – Certain environments can cause a person to feel depressed. If a person grows up in a tumultuous or abusive environment, they are likely to become depressed. Depression can also occur from a change in environments. For example, a person can become depressed while adjusting to a new living situation. A person can also get depressed by the changing of seasons. This is called seasonal affective disorder.
  • Genetics – Research has found that depression can run in families. A person is at higher risk for depression if they have a family member who suffers from anxiety, depression, or another mental health issue. Genes can also cause chemical issues like imbalances of hormones or brain chemistry.

Treatment Of Depression

Depression is very common and has the potential to affect a person's wellbeing. That is why it is important to talk to your doctor about treatment for depression. A doctor will be able to make recommendations based on your symptoms. Your doctor will likely recommend attending therapy. Therapy will help you cope with emotional issues related to depression. He or she may also recommend psychiatric medication.

Therapeutic techniques that help with depression include:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) will help you understand your emotions. It will also teach you how to cope with your thoughts and feelings when depressed.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps you understand how your thoughts and behaviors can influence your depression. It will also teach you how to restructure your thoughts to be more positive.
  • Talk therapy – Many people who are depressed feel that talking about their depression helps. They report feeling better after being able to talk about how things in their lives affect them. This form of therapy is particularly useful in depression due to environmental or situational circumstances.

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