What is depression?
Depression is defined as a prolonged period of unhappiness, to the point of feeling hopeless, helpless, and, at times, worthless. Every part of your everyday life, including relationships, work, and school, can be negatively impacted by depression. Getting the appropriate help can improve your ability to manage your mental health and start to feel more like your usual self again
If you have suicidal or self-harming thoughts, seek professional help ASAP. Help is available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 800-273-8255 to speak with someone today.
Risk factors for depression
Anyone can experience "clinical" or "medical" depression. Before the age of 18, 1 in 6 young people will suffer from depression. There is no specific cause, but there are many factors that may put you at a greater risk for depression than others, including:
- Genetics. A familial history of depression may increase your chances of developing it
- Experiencing a challenging life event, such as the loss of a loved one, sexual assault, dealing with chronic health issues, or suffering serious injuries
- Childhood trauma
- Disputes with family or friends
- Poverty or loss of income/employment
- Having a baby
- And the prevalence of other mental health disorders such as anxiety
Depression affects not only how a person feels, but how they think and act as well.
A person suffering from depression may:
- Experience intense, prolonged feelings of sadness
- Have difficulty completing daily tasks, even seemingly easy ones
- Lose interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Feel hopeless or worthless
- Have low energy levels
- Cry frequently
- Think about self-harm or suicide
People with severe depression may lose contact with reality, become paranoid, and even experience hallucinations, in the most extreme cases.
Depression help in Chicago
Everyone is unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. Support from family and friends, as well as acquiring self-help skills, are essential for mental health management no matter what kind of treatment is attempted.
Psychotherapy, sometimes known as "talk therapy" or "counseling," is the most common treatment for depression. Several methods of talk therapy have been found to be safe and effective including:
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) - To help us understand how our thought patterns and behaviors are linked to our moods. CBT teaches us how to replace depressive and negative thoughts and behaviors with more positive and productive ones.
- Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) - A type of psychotherapy that focuses on enhancing relationships by assisting us in resolving problems that contribute to depression.
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy - This approach tends to focus on one’s history of relationships with significant others--going back to early childhood, frequently--in order to understand the dysfunctional patterns of emotion and interaction that individuals are unconsciously re-living in disguised forms, at great cost to their happiness.
- Solution-focused therapy - To help teach individuals how to focus on personal strengths and manifest a brighter future for themselves by identifying and resolving their stressors and difficulties.
Antidepressant medicines are frequently used in conjunction with talk therapy to treat depression. These medications influence the chemical equilibrium in the brain and must be prescribed by a general doctor, or a specialist, such as a pediatrician, or psychiatrist.
Many people find lifestyle changes can help them better manage their depression. Meditation, yoga, exercise, a healthy diet, and good sleep hygiene can all help make your depression more manageable.
Get depression help in Chicago today
If you’re struggling to manage your depression, reach out to us today at Wellington Counseling Group. Our counselors take a comprehensive approach to identify the biological and psychological components that could be contributing to your depression so we can equip you with the knowledge you need to better manage your mental health.
Schedule a consultation today to get started.