Therapy for depression

The feelings of low motivation and low energy that characterize depression make it especially hard to take care of yourself and pull yourself out of your slump. Fortunately, even small but consistent efforts toward recovery can yield a significant improvement in your symptoms faster than you might expect.

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Overview

Depression is the most commonly occurring mood disorder, affecting between 5-10% of adults in the US.  Depression saps your enjoyment in life and affects your ability to function effectively at work and maintain healthy relationships. Fortunately, it also responds well to treatment, often without needing medication.

Symptoms

  • Low moods, feeling sad or gloomy without a specific reason, that lasts at least 2 weeks
  • Low motivation and difficulty completing even basic tasks
  • Feeling tired or lethargic even when you get enough sleep
  • Difficulty getting adequate nutrition and gaining/ losing weight from not eating enough, or making poor food choices
  • Reduced pleasure from activities you usually enjoy
  • Withdrawal from social activities

Causes

It’s impossible to know why one person suffers from depression and someone else with similar life circumstances doesn’t. However, depression is more likely after experiencing a stressful life event, such as a divorce or bereavement, losing a job, or while you’re transitioning between different life stages. Starting or ending a career, getting married or divorced, becoming parents or empty nesters are all times when you’re forced to re-evaluate your identity and self-worth. This can easily lead to depression if you don’t have the proper support in place to get you through the transition.

Risk factors

Other risk factors which increase your likelihood of developing depression include genetics (having at least one family member with depression), environmental factors (a history of abuse or trauma, undeveloped life skills, and lack of a suitable support system), and biological factors (certain medical conditions, brain chemistry or certain medications that you might take to treat other conditions).

Diagnosis

In order to make an accurate diagnosis, it’s important to see your healthcare provider, for a proper evaluation. Clinical depression will be treated according to what type of depression you have. For example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (a form of depression that develops with colder weather) will be treated differently from postpartum depression, after giving birth. Similarly, depression that occurs alongside another mental health condition will need to be treated differently from depression caused by an underlying medical condition.

A qualified healthcare provider will do a thorough evaluation of your symptoms, health status, family history, and any other factors that might have contributed to your depression and will make recommendations accordingly. Sometimes bloodwork is required to rule out any underlying health condition that might be causing your depression. Your doctor might also refer you to another service provider, such as a therapist or psychologist if needed.

Treatment

The appropriate treatment for your depression will be determined to a large extent by what’s causing your depression. If your depression is caused by an underlying health condition or as a side-effect of other medication you’re taking, your doctor might adjust your medication or change it completely. For mild depression, making healthy lifestyle changes such as improving your diet, getting into a regular sleep routine, or getting regular exercise can do wonders to ease your symptoms. Talk therapy, such as psychotherapy (for example cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT) is also tremendously helpful to alleviate depression and develop valuable skills at the same time. In cases of severe depression, your doctor might recommend that you also use medication, at least in the short term to get through a particularly difficult period.

Fortunately, depression is usually easy to treat and responds well to the right treatment. Although you might feel unmotivated to ask for help, as soon as you reach out for help, you already start the process of getting better. Even small efforts on your part can create significant improvements to your symptoms. You just need to start!

Reach out today

Are you or a loved one experiencing symptoms of depression? Reach out today to schedule your free consultation with Basanti Counseling to learn about our treatment options. We offer effective, compassionate therapy for depression, anxiety, trauma, and more. In-person and online appointments are available in Ontario.

Related information

Depression very often occurs together with other mental health disorders, such as anxiety and OCD. Sometimes depression is caused by trauma, which leads to developing an addiction such as alcoholism or other unhealthy behaviours as a coping mechanism. If your depression is caused by relationship issues or bereavement, counselling is available to help you work through your issues.

References:

FastStats – Depression (cdc.gov)

Depression: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment (clevelandclinic.org)