Nearly 20 Million people in this country suffer from depression yet only 1 in 10 will ever seek treatment. This is due to many factors including shame, minimization of the severity of symptoms, feeling that “I can handle this myself”, lack of insurance or other financial resources to name a few. Depression is more than just feeling blue. It is a medical condition that can be treated but you must first seek help.
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.
If you are in the San Francisco area, please email or call one of our therapists for help. We are experienced, mature and efficient in treating depression.
If you or someone you know has thoughts of suicide, seek professional help immediately through your healthcare professional or doctor or call 411 to get the phone number for the nearest local suicide hotline.