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.
Children and ADHD
It is likely that somewhere between 5 to 11 percent of American children suffer with ADHD. Children with this diagnosis frequently have difficulty adjusting in academic settings and are often diagnosed after entering a school based program. Not only can they have difficulty adjusting to their school environment but there behavior at home can also be challenging and concerning to parents. Children with ADHD typically demonstrate impulsive behavior and may have difficulty tolerating frustration. They have difficulty focusing their attention on task related activities and may be overactive.
ADHD is considered to be a developmental disorder which effects what are called executive functions in the brain. It is a neurological challenge which usually begins at birth and in most cases is genetically transmitted from generation to generation. At times it can result from smoking, drug usage, or alcohol use during pregnancy. It may also develop from a severe head injury, infection, or lead poisoning.
There are three major types of ADHD which are classified according to their symptoms. These include impulsivity, inattention, and overactivity and are listed below.
- Inattentive Type
- Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
- Combined Type
Most children with ADHD will show considerable symptom reduction after being evaluated and prescribed appropriate medication; however, giving medication is frequently a concern for many parents. Helping children develop improved coping mechanisms and supporting social skills development may also be helpful. Addressing parenting and family communication is typically a part of effective counseling with this diagnosis. Therapy typically involves both individual counseling for the child and therapeutic involvement with parents to improve there ability to implement effective structure and to optimize family communications.
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety which is a normal response as we meet the challenges of daily life. We may have worry or concerns about our job, getting good grades in school, or about making important decisions. Anxiety is often experienced as concerns about the future or an anticipated threat. It usually involves physical sensations such as nervousness, muscular tension, and some type of restless behavior. Although everyone experiences some level of anxiety some individuals have frequent and more intense experiences. It may be that as many as 10% of teenagers and 40% of adults may be coping with some type of anxiety disorder.
When anxiety becomes excessive and gets in the way of an individuals daily functioning, they may have an anxiety disorder and can benefit from getting professional treatment to reduce symptoms and more effectively manage their life.
The types of anxiety disorders are listed below.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
It is important to understand that anxiety is a treatable condition and can be reduced through a variety to treatment approaches. Anti-anxiety medication can be helpful initially to take the edge off of intense emotional experiences.
Marriage and Couples Counseling
For many couples things go extremely well in the beginning of their relationship. That is when we are at our best and both partners are putting forth great effort to respond to their partner. We are careful to be polite and respectful. Over time we may become frustrated and entangled in conflict which is not completely resolved. Both individuals in the relationship may experience hurt feelings or may even develop some anxiety or depression due to concerns about expressing themselves or not feeling understood. It may seem that the negative feelings which may include anger and irritation cover over much of the positive emotions we once had toward our partner.
When relationships are healthy there is reduced tension between couples. They feel more comfortable talking with their partner and develop a sense that they will not be judged for their experience. They generally feel more relaxed in their bodies and experience less worry and stress. They have more energy because it is not being drained by concerns about their relationship and continuous conflicts which are non-productive.
Relationship therapy is about getting back on track and improving the way that we relate to each other. It is often about rekindling the positive and loving emotions we had toward our loved one and again beginning to see them in a positive way.
It is not an easy task to begin to change unproductive habits that we have developed and which are not working. With gradual effort we can change things around and find more positive ways to help us get what we want in our relationship.