What is Depression?

Defined: Depression is a debilitating state that has a negative impact on a person’s mood, and a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities.   A depressed person will describe their mood as sad or empty, and sometimes he or she becomes irritable easily.  Some other characteristics are weight loss, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, low energy level, feeling worthless, difficulty concentrating and suicidal feelings.  This last factor is the reason why depression must be treated and addressed.  Depression can create a hopelessness that is so severe that it could lead to death.  Don’t ignore it, get help as soon as possible.  Depression often occurs following a significant loss, or a major life change.  It also occurs when a person feels stuck in a particular area of their life, such as stuck in a job, a relationship, or an illness.

Treatment:  Is depression treatable?  Absolutely Yes! With proper treatment, 80% to 90% of depressed people are able to move out of the depression.  The most common treatment is medication.  I advise individuals to investigate this option very thoroughly before making a decision for medication.  There are multiple side effects from anti-depressant medication.  It is considered the quick fix, yet like most quick fixes, it is not always a magic bullet.  Many people jump in without properly investigating the pros and cons of the medication.  The medicine deals with the symptom, and does not address the root cause of the depression.  Professional counseling has been very effective in treating depression.  A good therapist will help you identify the root cause of the depression, and teach you skills to come out of the debilitating mood.  The old cliché stands true, “What is not talked out is acted out.”  Talk out the depression and it will stop being acted out in your life.  Some say that this is too easy, yet it has been proven to work over and over again.

How long does Treatment Last:  This depends on the severity of the depression.  Sometimes a major life event causes an episode of depression, and the event must be worked through with a good counselor.  Sometimes the event is a trigger that surfaces many other unresolved experiences, and this therapy process will take a longer to resolve.  For example, the breakup of a relationship may bring up the grief of some others relationship failures that were never resolved.  It’s as if the pain of the broken relationship becomes magnetized to the other break ups, and all the pain surfaces at one time.  A good professional counselor will help you make the connections, and break free from the sadness.

Conclusion:  There is hope for depression.  You must deal with the root of the problem, and not just the symptom, to break free.  Find a good Professional Counselor or Therapist, and your investment in yourself will reap valuable rewards in your quality of life.

Dean Sunseri is a Licensed Profession Counselor experienced in General Mental Health Counseling and Substance Abuse Counseling.  He is located in Baton Rouge LA. and contacted at ds@ihaveavoice.com .

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