There are several signs and symptoms that help a healthcare professional determine if a person has depression. These include:
• Depressed or irritable mood most of the day, nearly every day
• Loss of interest or pleasure in everyday activities most of the time
• A sudden change in weight or appetite
• Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
• Agitation or restlessness (observed by others)
• Constant fatigue or loss of energy
• Frequent feelings of worthlessness or guilt
• Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
• Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
You don’t need to have all these signs to be depressed. Women experience depression differently from men, for example. They are more likely than men to experience guilt, weight gain, anxiety, eating disorders and increased sleep. Older people may experience more feelings of emptiness or persistent sadness.
The causes for depression are many, including traumatic life experiences, certain diseases or medications, substance abuse, hormonal changes or family history of depression. Whatever the circumstances, depression is either caused by or results in an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. This can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both. Many studies site findings that support the claim that the effects of medication are greatly enhanced when combined with psychotherapy.
I have been working with clients who have depression for many years. I know that it is treatable and people do feel better with treatment. As I therapist I can help you unburden yourself of the shame and guilt that often accompany depression and help you gain the perspective on your life that depression has robbed you of. So much of depression revolves around incorrect thinking. A large part of the healing process is about examining your thoughts and mastering them so they reflect a more accurate reality.
Low self-esteem is also involved in depressive disorders. It can be argued that depression both results from low self-esteem and causes it. Lack of self-love is, in my opinion, a massive issue in our society. It permeates almost all emotional problems and disorders. This is often masked as grandiosity, narcissism and ego centric behaviors. Until we learn to truly regard ourselves positively, we cannot regard others with love and compassion.
Depression is like being at war with oneself I invite you to make peace with yourself; to master your thoughts and come to an accurate understanding of who you really are. For help and support for a depression diagnosis, please feel free to reach out to me by calling 415-516-7528.