Depressive Disorders

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Effective Treatment & Symptom Management for Depressive Disorders

Depressive disorders include major depressive disorder (MDD), persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. People may also experience depression that is causing clinically significant distress but does not meet the full diagnostic criteria of these classifications. In such situations, people may be diagnosed with an other specified or unspecified depressive disorder. 

Common symptoms of depression include:

  • A depressed mood, including feelings of sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. Irritability may be more prominent in adolescents and some adults.
  • A reduced interest in daily activities.
  • A change in appetite combined with significant weight gain or loss. 
  • Reduced energy or feeling fatigued.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or increased guilt. 
  • Difficulty falling asleep (insomnia) or staying awake (hypersomnia) 
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Thoughts of death, including fear of dying and suicidal ideation.

If you are experiencing any variation of these symptoms and they are causing significant distress in your life, you may be suffering from depression. While depression can cause you to feel isolated and alone, you are not alone and there are people who can help. Many of our clients find relief through treatment and once again have hope for their lives.

Effective Treatment for Depression 

In general, research favors a combination of medication and psychotherapy in treating depression, especially if symptoms are in the moderate to severe range. However, depending on the severity of the symptoms, psychotherapy is often recommended as the first line of defense before prescribing antidepressants or other medications. In cases where depressive symptoms are mild or circumstantial (e.g., death of a loved one, job loss), psychotherapy alone may effectively alleviate depression. Notwithstanding, given that depressive symptoms can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, it is generally best practice to meet with your primary care provider to rule out any physical causes when beginning treatment.

There are several effective treatments for depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is perhaps the most common evidence-based psychotherapy treatment for depression. CBT focuses both on challenging distorted thoughts or beliefs and changing behavior to improve your mood and functioning. Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness (often combined with CBT and ACT), and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can also be effective in reducing a person's depressive symptoms and improving their quality of life.

A note on stigma...

There are social stigmas associated with being labeled with depression that often decrease people's willingness to seek treatment. While there is a false belief that depressed individuals can "think" or "act" themselves out of a depressed mood, this is inaccurate and an unrealistic expectation for those diagnosed with a depressive disorder or experiencing a major depressive episode. Science has demonstrated depression to be caused by a combination of biological, environmental, situational, and personal factors. If you are experiencing depression we encourage you to reach out to us today and schedule a session or free consultation to discuss potential options.