Do I need a depression therapist?
Many of us have asked ourselves “Do I need a depression therapist?”. Feeling sad from time-to-time is a common emotion and a common reaction to tough times in life. However, seeing a depression therapist might be right for you if you suffer from the symptoms of depression for weeks at a time, or if those symptoms affect your ability to complete your day-to-day tasks. Most people who suffer from depression, often called “clinical depression”, need treatment from the care of a professional to alleviate symptoms and feel better. It is important to know that being diagnosed with depression does not signify weakness and is not a character flaw. There are various factors that play a role in depression, including but not limited to brain biology and stressful life events.
Sadness is one of the many symptoms of depression. However, even though sadness is a symptom of depression, not all who have depression will feel sad. If you answer “yes” to experiencing one or more of the following symptoms for more than two weeks at a time, or if those symptoms are impacting your ability to handle and perform daily tasks, then it may be the right time to speak with your doctor and find a depression therapist.
- Do you regularly feel sad, anxious, or “empty”?
- Do you feel less excited about people, events, and activities that you once loved?
- Do you often experience feelings of hopelessness?
- Do you regularly feel worthless or helpless?
- Has your energy decreased or do you feel constantly fatigued during the day?
- Do you have a difficult time concentrating on tasks and making decisions?
- Do you have a difficult time falling asleep at night, staying asleep throughout the night, or waking up in the morning?
- Have you seen any big changes in your appetite or weight (without being on a conscious diet)?
- Do you have thoughts of death or suicide?
- Do you regularly feel restless, jumpy, or irritable?
- Are there any other physical symptoms impacting your day-to-day life?
If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then it may be time to speak with your doctor and find a depression therapist right for you.
When you first meet with a depression therapist, he or she may start by asking you questions pertaining to the symptoms you experience. This is because there are several types of depression and you may be experiencing any one of the following types.
- You may be experiencing major depression, a type of depression where your symptoms affect your ability to enjoy life.
- You may be experiencing depressive disorder, a type of depression in which your symptoms have lasted for at least 2 years.
- You may be suffering from psychotic depression, a type of depression in which you experience the symptoms of depression as well as the symptoms of psychosis (delusions or hallucinations).
- You may have postpartum depression, a type of depression often triggered by hormonal and physical changes after giving birth. This is different from normal “post baby blues”.
- You may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder, a type of “seasonal depression” in which you experience the symptoms of depression during the winter months when there is a natural decrease in sunlight.
Even though there are various types of depression, most forms of depression can be treated with great results through the use of depression therapy, medication, or a combination of both. It is important to talk with your doctor about a plan that is right for you.
Depression therapy takes place under a professional depression therapist and can be a natural form of treatment that often yields great results. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common type of depression therapy that identifies and manages the factors that contribute to depression. This type of therapy is often a collaborative effort, where both a patient and a therapist work together to identify triggers and learn effective coping techniques.
Another option for treatment is medication. While medication will not cure depression, it can be used to manage the symptoms of depression. Talk to your doctor about what type of medication might be right for you.
In addition to these forms of treatment, used both individually and together, there are also natural treatments that may be used under the supervision of your counselor and doctor. Such treatments include:
- Regular meditation
- Regular exercise
- Eating regular meals
- Drinking lots of water throughout the day
- Hanging out with family, friends, and loved ones
- Setting realistic expectations for mood to improve (gradually not overnight).
Note that some may respond to treatment immediately, while others may take weeks, months, or years to see the full benefits of treatment. Work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works best for you.
Anxiety Disorders. (March 2016). In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-what-you-need-to-know/index.shtml
Anxiety Disorders. In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml.
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