Everyone feels sad or down from time to time. We can lose out on a promotion, have problems with one of our children, or have an argument with a friend. These are all good reasons for feeling down and discouraged. However, these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a few days. When you can’t shake the blues and you start to slip into a depression, the world can quickly become very dark and gloomy.
Depression can feel like a black cloud looming over or it can feel like a chain choking us of all joy and happiness. It can leave us feeling empty, helpless or hopeless. Doing the smallest of chores can feel draining or exhausting. You can feel like you are losing interest in activities that use to bring you pleasure. You may feel isolated or alone, even when you are in the company of other people. You may even have thoughts of what the world would be like without you in it. You are not sure what to do or if you can do anything at all. These thoughts and feelings are common for people experiencing depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression can last anywhere from weeks to months to years. Some people suffer from it their entire lives without help. Symptoms of depression can include the following:
- persistent sad or “empty” feelings
- loss of interest in hobbies or things once pleasurable including sex
- irritability, restlessness
- weight loss, gain or a change in appetite
- insomnia or hypersomnia
- fatigue or loss of energy
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- problems with thinking or concentration, or forgetting things
- recurrent thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Causes and Treatment of Depression
Depression is most likely caused by a combination of biological, genetic, environmental and psychological factors. Depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. New brain-imaging technologies, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), demonstrate that the brains of people without depression look different than those with depression. Parts of the brain that appear different include areas involved with appetite, sleep, thinking, mood and behavior.
The most common treatments for mild to moderate depression are Cognitive Behavioral, Interpersonal and Psychodynamic therapies. In severe cases of depression a combination of therapy and medication may be most effective. In Dr. Bisignano’s approach, she does a thorough assessment and consider the appropriate treatment approach. If she thinks that medication might be of benefit she will refer her clients to a psychiatrist for an evaluation. As a psychologist, Dr. Bisignano does not prescribe medication. Her approach to depression has also been influenced by the research of Martin Seligman, Ph.D. in the area of happiness and well-being.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health 6.7% of adults in the U.S. experience Major Depressive Disorder. Women are about 70% more likely to experience depression in their lifetime compared to men, with 32 years of age being the average onset.
People struggling with depression often have a difficult time taking the first steps toward getting help. The fact that you are reading this page is a step in the right direction. It means you are in the initial stages of seeking help. This is a great move in the right direction. The next step is to call Dr. Bisignano at her Palos Verdes office today for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation at (424) 206-9055.Ph. (424) 206-9055Book Online • • •