How does one become depressed?
There are really only two ways one can become depressed – either through circumstances, such as a lost job or the death of a loved one, or through “organic” or biological processes. Either way, whether it is biological or situational, a vicious cycle can emerge that only serves to make it worse. Grief and loss based on circumstances can actually have an affect on brain chemistry, and depression that is organic in origin will cause someone to withdraw socially, decrease pleasurable activities, and create circumstances that reinforce the other symptoms of depression. Regardless of how someone becomes depressed, the research shows that therapy can be extremely effective in reducing symptoms of depression and improving one’s quality of life.
Do I have to take medication?
Not necessarily, however depending on the severity of the depression it might be recommended. Generally I am conservative in recommending medication for depression. Sometimes, a certain level of depression can be a gift. It is a way for our minds and bodies to get our attention about something that might be bothering us. Whether it is a relationship that is not right for us, or work stress, or dissatisfaction with other areas of life, depression can be a signal that something is wrong and needs to be changed. With that said, there are times when someone’s depression is so significant that it makes it hard for them to function. They might be barely able to gather enough energy to work, or they may be so overwhelmed they can’t do the work in therapy that would help relieve their symptoms. At that point I typically do recommend to clients they talk with their doctor about the possibility of medication treatment.
If I exercised more willpower, shouldn’t I be able to “get over” it?
Overcoming depression isn’t about having enough willpower. There is some interesting research about diet and exercise that suggests that diet and exercise are at least as effective as anti-depressants for many kinds of depression. The problem is that many people are so depressed that they don’t have the energy or motivation to exercise or make any other lifestyle changes that could improve their mood. The situation becomes a “Catch – 22.”
How do you treat depression?
I use time-proven, research supported methods to alleviate symptoms of depression. This includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, emotional processing, and Relational Therapy to explore the issues that are contributing to your depression and getting in the way of you making changes that can improve your life. We’ll explore at a pace that is set by you, that will support you and challenge you to make changes, confront your “demons,” and find a path to growth and relief.
If you’d like to talk about working together to overcome your depression, feel free to call me or contact me via the form below.