If you’re living with depression, you aren’t alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 6% of American adults experience at least one depressive episode in any given year.
Am I depressed?
It’s normal to experience feelings of sadness, fear and isolation around major life changes or as the result of a recent loss. These healthy, adaptive feelings help us process what’s happening in the world around us, and tend to recede over time.
Depression is different, in that it is generally more severe and more persistent. Though depressive episodes can be triggered by life events, oftentimes they arise unexpectedly.
During a depressive episode, you may experience the following:
- Feelings of sadness, anxiety or numbness that won’t go away
- Persistent guilt
- Lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Changes in appetite
- Thoughts of suicide
- Feeling restless or angry
- Headache, gastrointestinal distress, or chronic pain that is unrelated to a medical diagnosis
What causes depression?
Research on depression is ongoing and we are constantly learning new information about how it works. Researchers believe that depression risk is linked to a variety of factors, including:
- Family history of depression
- Personality traits, like pessimism and low self-esteem
- The brain’s impaired ability to respond to chemicals that impact mood
- Exposure to trauma
Signs of depression in kids and teens
It may be more difficult for children and teens to express their internal experiences, leading parents to worry they may miss signs that their child is struggling.
For children and teenagers, depression may look like:
- Sadness or irritability
- Withdrawal from social connections
- Loss of interest in play or other activities
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Excessive guilt
- Trouble focusing, or “spacing out”
- Talking about dying or wanting a way out
Do I need counseling for depression?
If you or a loved one are experiencing several of the symptoms listed above, and you’ve noticed an impact on the ability to engage in work, school, hobbies and relationships, it’s probably a good idea to seek help from a licensed counselor.
If you are having thoughts of hurting or killing yourself, you should seek care immediately by calling the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Decades of research support talk therapy as an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression. Since depression is also linked to differences in brain chemistry, some individuals find relief through medication. It’s possible to combine medication and counseling in the treatment of depression.
Can counseling help with depression?
Fortunately, depression is a very treatable condition. In fact, 80-90% of people who seek therapy for depression eventually see improvements.
Cognitive therapies, and particularly CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) are considered some of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for depression. CBT helps individuals understand the relationship between their thoughts and behaviors, allowing them to challenge negative patterns and find new ways to cope.
If you’re ready to make a change, our counselors are here for you. Reach out today.