What is Depression?
Depression is a deep sadness that lasts for at least two weeks. More specifically and according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5 TM, depression includes at least five of the following:
- Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide. (If you are experiencing any of these, you should call 911 immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.);
- Depressed mood most of the day as indicated by either subjective report or observation made by others;
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities;
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain;
- Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleepiness);
- Psychomotor agitation or retardation;
- Fatigue or loss of energy;
- Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt;
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness.
A good place to start helping yourself is by reading Feeling Good by David Burns, MD. Dr. Burns uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help individuals with depression. Be prepared that in order to feel better, you have to complete at least some of the work suggested in this book. While the book is quite long, there’s no need to be overwhelmed or discouraged by that. Reading a chapter a week is excellent progress. In addition, clients repeatedly tell me that it has been unnecessary for them to read all of the book to get good results.
Getting better will probably also include adding exercise. See my blog article Better Health Is Easier Than You Think published on January 9, 2017.
Seeing your doctor should also be a consideration. This becomes more important if you have a family history of mental illness or imperative if you are having thoughts of suicide.
You should also consider cutting out alcohol. Alcohol is a depressant and will only exacerbate your depression. If you are taking an anti-depressant, alcohol will keep your anti-depressant from working as effectively as it would have.
In addition, counseling can be very beneficial to helping you feel better. I can work with you using cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy, and psycho-education to help get you back on track. Together we can lift your depression and improve your quality of life. Give me a call at 636-288-1997 to schedule an appointment.