Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders, and every year it affects 7% of the US population, or about 23 million people. Fortunately, a variety of effective treatments for depression are available, including therapy. Here, we explain what depression is and how therapy can treat it.
Clinical Depression and Other Terms
Depression is defined generally as a medical condition that affects your mood from day to day and your ability to function in daily life. Under this broad definition, there are multiple types of depression, including but not limited to:
- Clinical depression (or major depressive disorder) – symptoms that interfere with daily life, are intense/overwhelming, and last for more than two weeks.
- Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) – like major depressive disorder but less severe; however, symptoms last two years or longer.
- Seasonal affective disorder (seasonal depression) – depression that occurs during the winter months and usually goes away in the spring and summer.
- Postpartum depression – depression that occurs during and up to one year after having a baby.
While each type of depression may have different or more pronounced symptoms, in general, people with any form of depression may experience the following symptoms:
- Feeling helpless, sad, or hopeless
- Low self-esteem or feeling worthless
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Problems with focus and concentration
- Sleep problems
- General fatigue and lack of energy
- Change in appetite, such as overeating or losing appetite
- Suicidal ideations
Causes of Depression
Many life factors and events can cause depression. The most common causes are:
- Life events – traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one, as well as lack of support and isolation.
- Genetics – people who have relatives with depression are more likely to have depression themselves.
- Brain chemistry – if there is an imbalance in your brain chemicals, it can lead to depression.
- Medication and lifestyle – depression can be a side effect of some medications, and drinking alcohol in excess can cause or worsen depression.
Therapy For Depression: Treatment Options For Depression
By far, the most common and accessible treatment for depression is therapy. Also known as psychotherapy, talk therapy, or counseling, this involves spending time talking about your emotions and thoughts with a mental health professional, like a licensed professional counselor. Therapists have different strategies they use during talk therapy to help work through issues, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – the therapist identifies and challenges the beliefs you have that may be inaccurate perceptions of yourself and others, which helps reduce anxious and depressive symptoms.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) – a type of CBT that uses mindfulness and acceptance to control intense emotions.
Depending on the case, other therapies may be combined with talk therapy to enhance the effectiveness of talk therapy or further aid in minimizing depressive symptoms.
If you have experienced trauma, your therapist may use:
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – Your therapist will lead you through rapid eye movements while you focus on a traumatic memory. The movements stimulate your brain and help decrease the vividness and emotions of the traumatic memory.
- Brain spotting – Your therapist will ask you to focus on one spot with your eyes and will guide you through any feelings that come up as you do this. This process helps you access, process, and then release traumatic memories stored in the subcortical brain in a gentle way.
If the person experiencing depression is a child, play therapy may be used; this is when the therapist plays with the child or uses specific toys to focus on feelings and processing.
In some cases, your therapist may work with other healthcare professionals to provide you with prescription medication. Called anti-depressants, this medication can help change your brain chemistry back to healthier levels and make you feel more stabilized, so that talk therapy is more effective.
Depression Treatment Near Me
Overall, therapy is an effective treatment for depression, and can be combined with other methods to enhance its effectiveness.
At Atlanta Specialized Care, we strive to help patients not only feel more stable but also help them regulate their emotions in their day to day lives, even after they finish therapy.
We examine each patient from a biological, psychological, and sociological perspective to get a full scope of their depression and what causes it. Then, we go through a three-step treatment approach. First, we stabilize the patient by teaching them coping skills. Then, we treat any traumatic experiences they’ve had in the past using the methods explained above. Lastly, we look at patient behaviours and tailor their therapy accordingly, so they can regulate their own behaviour and emotions by the end of treatment.
To arrange an appointment with one of our highly qualified mental health counsellors today, call (770) 815-6853, or request an appointment.
We are committed to helping you through your depression and hope that we can use our experience to help you get back to your life and passions.