The Not-So-Great Depression
Feeling hopeless. Unable to sleep. Irritable. Weepy. Reclusive.
These are just some of the hallmarks of depression. If these feelings sound familiar, you’re not alone: Depression is a common psychological ailment, affecting nearly 20 million people in the United States annually.
Many mistake depression as just a phase and never seek medical assistance. But if you get the right help, in 30 days you may see significant improvements in your mood and get on the road to beating depression.
Depression: No Simple Sadness
“We all experience feelings of sadness, but depression is very different,” explains Joseph Luciani, Ph.D., a New Jersey-based psychologist and author of Self-Coaching: The Powerful Program to Beat Anxiety & Depression. Depression “is a physical illness with many more symptoms than an unhappy mood. The person with clinical depression finds that there is not always a logical reason for his or her dark feelings.”
Symptoms of depression can include an overwhelming feeling of unhappiness; changes in sleep and eating patterns; loss of interest in activities that once gave you pleasure; and restlessness and irritability. If you have suffered from these symptoms for two weeks or more, you could be dealing with depression.
The sooner you get help for your depression, the sooner you’ll feel better. “There are many different treatment options available, and it’s important to know help is available, and to take steps to get that help,” says John Preston, Psy.D., a board-certified neuropsychologist in California and author of You Can Beat Depression: A Guide To Prevention & Recovery. “Over 80% of people who seek depression help see improvements in their symptoms."
Depression Help: Treatment Options
Doctors and therapists generally stick to certain depression treatment options, usually consisting of talk therapy and medical or self-help techniques. Your treatment choices will depend on your diagnosis, severity of symptoms and preference.
“If depression is chemical in nature, a combination of medication and therapy might be necessary,” explains Preston. “The majority of depressions are psychological and most people can usually recover with simple self-help procedures and/or professional psychotherapy.”