Have you been experiencing a lack of interest in things that have often been pleasurable and important to you in the past? Do you find that you are generally unhappy? Do you have difficulty eating and sleeping? Do you feel a lack of energy and find that it is much more difficult to get things done than it had been in the past? Do you frequently feel sad or even hopeless?
Most of us feel down or sad at times. These are natural experiences and are the way that we respond to changes in our lives. For individuals with depression, feelings of sadness may last for weeks and even months. At times there may not even seem to be a reason for the intensity of the emotional experience.
Difficult situations such as divorce or the loss of a loved one can trigger strong emotional experiences such as sadness, helplessness, anger, and depression. In situations like these it is understandable that these experiences might last for quiet some time and be relatively intense. The intensity and duration of the experiences may be indicators that we need treatment to resolve these emotional issues.
Types of Depression
Major Depression - This is a mental disorder or condition which interferes with an individual’s ability to function from day to day. There may be associated and intense feelings of sadness, loss, frustration, and anger.
Minor Depression – *Symptoms similar to major depression with less intensity
Dysthemia – This is a chronic condition which is not disabling but creates a long term drain on an individual’s energy and prevents them from feeling good and functioning optimally.
Treatment for Depression
- Talk Therapy - A variety of treatment approaches are available to help individuals release stress and resolve interpersonal conflicts which may be at the core of the depression. These may include approaches such Cognitive Behavioral Treatment CBT which can help people think differently. As a result of changing the way we think we will automatically bring about positive changes in our emotional experience.
- Art Therapy - In addition to talk therapy clients can do a variety of art related activities to help release body tension and come to terms with interpersonal conflicts which may be draining their energy and keeping them from doing the things they need to do to become *less* depressed.
*Interpersonal Problem Solving and Social Support *- Often at the core of depression individuals are unable to find ways interact with others in a satisfying and meaningful way to get their needs met.
*Stress Reduction* – Stress is likely at the root of much of the depression that individuals experience. When we reduce stress we are better able to rest. Rest is extremely important for the healing of both body and mind.
*Nutrition* – For our bodies and minds to function efficiently we need to have proper nutrition. We need a steady supply of certain nutrients for the efficient functioning of our bodies and minds. Often due to our personal stress and challenging life style is difficult for to us to eat well and care for our bodies.
*Exercise *– Proper exercise has been shown to be as valuable as anti-depressants medications in the treatment of depression. There is a catch. For exercise to be effective individuals need to establish realistic expectations regarding their exercise programs which are appropriate for their current age and state of health.
*Medication – *This approach is usually used in conjunction with talk therapies to address emotional issues. If an individual is experiencing depression it is often recommended that they get a consultation with a psychiatrist or specializing physician or nurse-practitioner.