Depression

Depression Counseling Services in Medina, OH

Many of us would at times say that we are feeling depressed, but those feelings usually last a day or two at most. Someone who has depression has intense feelings of sadness and hopelessness that are relatively constant, to the point that it is difficult to function in daily life. The theory is that depression is a brain disorder, in which the brain chemicals that affect mood, thinking, and behavior are out of balance. It tends to run in families, but many people who have depression do not have it in their family history. Traumatic life events, such as a tragic loss, can also cause someone to become depressed.

Symptoms of depression can vary based on the individual. Some people with depression feel a general unhappiness or emptiness which doesn’t have an explanation. On the more severe end, depression can make it a challenge for some people to go to work, eat, sleep or take pleasure in activities in life that were once enjoyable. In some instances a person with depression may struggle to even get out of bed. Depression doesn’t just affect the individual either; it affects all the people close to that person also.

The feelings we have about ourselves and the world are greatly impacted by how we think. Certain events in our lives can trigger certain emotions based upon our belief system. A faulty belief system can create and perpetuate a variety of mental health problems, such as depression and low self worth. Much of the etiology of depression is based in the distorted perception that one is a victim. If you have victimizing negative self talk, you might be feeling helpless or hopeless. You might be telling yourself that your problems have no solution or are incurable, or that the road to betterment is too long and steep, and nothing will ever change that. The victim has difficulty perceiving anything but insurmountable obstacles between themselves and their goals. Often times, victims tend to blame external circumstances or other people for their problems, thus perpetuating the belief that their problems are out of their control. Victims find themselves using phrases like “I can’t…” or “I’ll never be able to…” to cope with their problems.

 

 

Unhealthy Thoughts that Lead to Depression:

 

  • Filtering- Focusing on only the negative aspects of a situation while failing to see the positive aspects (ex: “My child is nothing but trouble.”)
  • Emotional reasoning- Judging or evaluating something illogically based upon your feelings alone (ex: “It feels impossible to look for a job, I just can’t.”)
  • Self-blaming- Holding yourself overly responsible for your problems, or for the way others act, think or feel (ex: “It is my fault that our marriage failed”)
  • Over-generalization- Making a general rule or judgment from a single incident (ex: “My first day was awful, so the whole week is going to be bad.”)
  • Mind reading- Believing you know what others are thinking and feeling, without asking them, or thinking that others know how you are thinking (ex: “She must think I am so stupid.”)
  • Self critical statements- Constantly putting yourself down or evaluating yourself negatively (ex: “I never do anything right.”)
  • Black/white reasoning- Thinking there are only 2 ways to look at a situation, and failing to see any “gray” area (ex: “My friend never called- she is a lousy friend,” or “My husband is always coming home late.”)
  • Expectations- Having ironclad rules about how you and others should act, with unrealistic expectations of self (ex: “I should be a better father.”)

 

People who learn these distorted thoughts in childhood often carry them into their adult lives, teaching their own children the same perceptions. However, you are not born with negative thinking- you learn it from your environment. With therapy from a mental health professional, you can unlearn negative patterns of thinking and relearn healthier, more realistic thoughts. Learning new ways of thinking will not only improve one’s self esteem and outlook on life, it will also enhance family and peer relationships.

 

 

Treatment for Depression

 

Treatment for depression can include a combination of drug therapy, cognitive therapy to identify mistaken beliefs and distorted perceptions about self and the world, and intensive psychotherapy to work through family of origin issues and/or abuse history. The most popular drugs for depression are Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Cymbalta, and Effexor. Consult your doctor for more information on these and other antidepressants. Other treatment options for depression include assertion training, anger management training, diet and sleep management, family and couples therapy, and support groups. Children may benefit from art and play therapy to explore feelings related to depression and other mental health disorders.

Remember that depression, even the most severe cases, is one of the most treatable mental illnesses.  The earlier treatment begins the more effective it will be.

 

What to do if you suspect someone you know is depressed:

  • Be patient and encouraging, not critical
  • Talk to this person about your concerns; make sure you listen, don’t dismiss their feelings
  • Let this person know that depression is not a personal flaw or weakness; it’s an illness that can get better with treatment.
  • Encourage this person to seek out treatment by a trained mental health professional
  • Be supportive by offering to help this person get to appointments, etc.
  • Invite this person to activities and events, even if it is just spending time at home together. Don’t be discouraged if this person declines, keep asking.
  • Always take comments about suicide seriously.

 

 

Childhood Depression

The occurrence of depression increases significantly during adolescence.  Early detection and treatment of childhood and adolescent depression is imperative, if not caught and effectively addressed it can lead to more serious mental health issues, school failure, drug abuse and even suicide. Depression in children tends to look a little different when compared to depressive symptoms in adults and can be harder to identify since often these symptoms are misinterpreted as typical “growing up” behavior.

 

Signs that your child may be depressed:

 

  • Pretends to be sick
  • Refuses to go to school
  • Cries a lot
  • Clings to a parent
  • Worry that parent(s) may die
  • Has sleep or appetite changes
  • Has thoughts of death or dying
  • Expresses wishes to harm self or others either written, verbally or through drawings
  • Has feelings of being “blue” or sad*Note: in children and adolescents, irritability is more common than expressed feelings of sadness
  • Has low self-esteem: calls self “stupid”, “bad”, “ugly”, etc.
  • Has slowed physical responses or increased motor agitation
  • Gains or loses significant amount of weight
  •  Doesn’t care or lacks motivation to complete school work
  • Has sudden drop in grades
  • Withdraws from family and friends

 

Signs that your teen may be depressed:

 

  • Feeling sad all or much of the time and the feeling does not go away
  • Frequent crying
  • Feeling guilty for no apparent reason
  • Losing self-confidence; feeling that he/she is ‘no good’; being overly self-critical
  • Feeling that life has no meaning or purpose
  • Feeling nothing good will happen; feeling hopeless, helpless
  • Having negative attitude much of the time
  • Self-blame
  • It seems he/she has no feelings
  • Failure to enjoy things that used to bring enjoyment
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions
  • Getting irritated frequently and easily
  • Getting angry easily; increase in aggressive behavior
  • Being overly sensitive to criticism (especially in high achievers)
  • Changes in eating habits (loss of appetite or weight loss; overeating/weight gain)
  • Changes in sleeping habits:  insomnia, sleeping too much, not feeling rested
  • Feeling tired most of the time/fatigue/lack of energy
  • Physical pain
  • Social withdrawal/becoming withdrawn from family
  • Sudden loss of interest in personal hygiene
  • Self harm including excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Thoughts about death, feeling like he/she is dying, wishing to die, increased in talk about dying, preoccupation with death
  • Having thoughts about committing suicide or making suicide attempts

 

Avenues of Counseling and Mediation, LLC has locations in Medina and Fairlawn.  In both offices we have many compassionate and experienced Counselors who specialize in identifying and treating depression.

 

 

Depression Clinicians