Rediscovering your joy
Depression can be thought of as the common cold of mental health – most or all people will experience it at some point, some more chronically than others. It is useful to see depression as our brain and body’s way of coping by shutting down. The good news is that with good therapy depression can be effectively treated for a long lasting recovery.
Depression has many causes and is generally more complex than simple.
In addition to outside supports for recovery from depression, like good friends, family, or the support of group, a dog or a cat, uplifting music, a therapeutic relationship with a counselor or social worker who understands you and knows how to treat depression effectively, can be just the ticket.
Causes For Depression
Some potential causes and contributing factors to depression are the time of year, weather, and daylight. These factors can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The anniversary of the death of a loved one, times of year when loss occurred, or when trauma happened can also be causal. Medical problems such as thyroid imbalance or chronic pain, nutritional imbalance or deficiency, life stressors, trauma, emotional neglect, grief and loss, injuries to the brain affecting the emotional centers, or life disruptions like those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can be causal as well. Many people experience a combination of these causes which contribute to their depressive symptoms.
Often cognitive distortions are present, either before as a result of depression. These distortions are commonly referred to as depressogenic thinking, and often have painful underlying negative beliefs that can develop during a depressive episode. Part of good therapy is identifying these and learning how to be mindful and intentional, using specific cognitive behavioral therapy skills, to stop and replace these thoughts with more realistic and positive ones.
Our bodies have a built in alarm system for responding to danger, most commonly known as fight-or-flight, but more accurately described as fight, flight or freeze. Depression is thought to be the emotional version of the freeze response as a way to survive. Flight translates emotionally to anxiety, and fight to anger. In the spirit of this, it is important in the treatment of depression to address the nervous system’s role through grounding techniques, mindfulness meditation, or trauma treatments like reconsolidation of traumatic memories, RTM or eye movement the sensitization reprogramming, EMDR, and mindfulness-based emotional processing, MBEP.
Medication can also support recovery from depression by helping to repair the imbalance in serotonin that develops in depression and thereby helping to create an improved sense of wellbeing. Medication can also be helpful while therapy is taking place for trauma, learning new ways of thinking, coping, and developing a better understanding of depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Some common symptoms are:
- Persistent sadness
- Sleep disturbances
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Appetite disturbances
- Suicidal thoughts/actions
- And sometimes physical symptoms like headaches or back pain
Often, people experiencing depression can function well enough by putting on a happy face with others but feeling quite sad and empty underneath that smile. This sense of faking it while feeling isolated can make your depression worse over time as it intensifies the loneliness you are already feeling.
Mood Disorders Clinic
At the Mood Disorders Clinic we take a practical approach with depression. We know that when a client is coming in for an initial assessment for depression that they are suffering. We work carefully to create an individualized treatment approach (plan) that will help you reduce symptoms of depression quickly. We may refer you to our in house Physician or to your primary care physician for a medication consult if we the think it is appropriate and if you are in agreement. We will get you started in The Mood Disorder Clinic as quickly as possible.
We will see you for an initial intake, make sure that your treatment plan is properly tailored to your needs, and refer you to the clinic.
Therapists at the Evolution Group are well-trained in addressing depression and it’s underlying causes. In the context of a safe and empathetic therapy session we help to assess and determine the cause of depression, include collaborating clinicians like a doctor or nurse practitioner, and help develop a treatment plan for bringing depression to zero. This kind of help brings hope to people struggling with depression.
Results are monitored every week. Most clients notice gradual improvement every week and in most cases anxiety is reduced or eliminated in 30-90 days.