Atlanta Therapy for DepressionKathleen Leser, LCSW. Atlanta Therapist.
No one is exempt from experiencing sadness. At some point in our lives, we go through situations where we feel sad or blue. In some cases, the feelings of sadness may go away after a few days.
People who have depression find their lives disrupted by persistent sadness, low mood, sleep and appetite disturbance, decreased energy and motivation and other symptoms that interfere with daily functioning. Depression is painful. Without the proper intervention and care, individuals who experience depression may feel like nothing is going to change or get better.
Depression is more than just a feeling or a passing phase. In other words, depression should be looked at as a medical condition that can be treated. An evaluation by a professional can be done to determine a diagnosis and treatment plan. The most common treatments are medication and therapy.
It is important to understand what depression is. Depression may come in different types. As an Atlanta counselor, I work with clients who have the following types:
This type of depression generates mild, moderate or severe symptoms that can disrupt the normal routine and activity of a person. People who experience major depression may have difficulty working, sleeping, eating, focusing on tasks, and enjoying their lives. This may occur as a single major depressive episode or multiple episodes throughout a person’s life.
Persistent depressive disorder
If a person has experienced a depressed mood and some other specific symptoms for more than 2 years, he / she may have this kind of depression. People who have persistent depressive disorder may not realize that this is going on because the symptoms have become a part of their daily life for at least 2 years. In other words, it may seem like the norm.
Depression with a seasonal pattern, commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Sunlight is a natural mood booster, and lack of it may trigger a form of depression in some people. SAD — and yes, that’s a well-assigned acronym — occurs in some people starting in the fall or winter and ending in the spring. People who experience this type of depression may find themselves back to their happier dispositions during the spring and summer. Although SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, about half of those diagnosed with SAD may not experience relief with this kind of treatment.
Causes of depression
Depression has been studied by many researchers, which point to several factors as contributing to the development of depression. It may be caused by genetics, biological factors, environmental influences and adverse or stressful life experiences.
Depression is essentially a brain disorder. This has been confirmed by studies that used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess the brain of a depressed person. MRI scans revealed that the brains of people diagnosed with depression look different from those without depressive disorders. Most of the differences were found in parts of the brain associated with cognitive functions, sleeping, appetite, mood and behavior. Brain-imaging technology can’t determine the cause of depression or be used to diagnose it.
One factor that scientists continue studying is genetics. Researchers are investigating the possible contribution of genetic influences to having depression. Although some individuals have a family history of depression, other people diagnosed with depression don’t have this hereditary background.
Some other studies discovered that depression in some people may be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. In other cases, depression may be triggered by trauma, a difficult relationship, loss of work or money, death of a loved one or a stressful situation. However, others don’t need a trigger for their depressive episodes to occur.
Regardless of the cause, depression needs to be treated. With intervention, such as counseling, you can experience relief, healing and hope.
Signs and Symptoms
Feelings of persistent sadness or a depressed, low mood may be common in people with a depressive disorder, however, symptoms can differ. Some signs and symptoms include the following:
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism, emptiness
- Irritability or restlessness
- Loss of interest and enjoyment in activities or hobbies that were once pleasurable
- Low energy level and increased fatigue
- Decreased motivation
- Withdrawing from others
- Difficulty with concentration, memory and decision-making
- Change in sleeping patterns, ranging from insomnia to excessive sleeping
- Change in eating habits, ranging from loss of appetite to overeating
- Suicidal thoughts or tendencies
Persons at risk
2013 data from the National Institute of Mental Health indicate that about 15.7 million adults in the U.S., or 6.7 percent of all adults, experienced major depression in the past 12 months. It is one of the most common mental health issues in the country.
Studies have shown that women have a 70 percent higher risk of experiencing depression than men. Women’s higher rate of depression may be related to various factors including biological, hormonal, psychosocial and life cycle.
Ready to talk?
I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your concerns. I offer an initial fifteen minute phone consultation at no charge. I look forward to talking with you.