By: Steve Gainey, MA, LLP, ADS, CAADC, EAC Clinical Specialist – October is National Depression Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to understand more about the disease, to recognize the symptoms, and to focus on the resources available.
According to The American Psychiatric Association, “Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and or a loss of interest in activities one enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.”
The symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe. Some of the symptoms are:
- Feeling sad
- Loss of interest or pleasure in things once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite-weight loss or gain, unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty in thinking or concentrating
- Thoughts of death or suicide
The American Psychiatric Association additionally states, “Depression affects an estimated 1 in 15 adults in any given year. One in 6 will experience depression at some point in their life.” While these numbers can be alarming, the good news is that depression is treatable. The more awareness about the symptoms and resources available to help, the more that those who suffer with depression can get the assistance they need.
When I counsel clients who feel depressed, I first assess the situation. Sometimes, adjustment to changes in one’s life can cause grief. Events such as the death of a loved one, job loss, children moving out of state, or one’s own illness, can bring up feelings of sadness, fear, or anger. Those feelings need to be processed. If not, it may lead to depression.
One way I work with clients to process their emotions is by looking at their “scripts”. Scripts are the ways we think – our psychological thinking patterns and the theory of who we are in the world. They affect our thinking, behavior and mood patterns. Some examples of these scripts are:
- Don’t be important
- Don’t belong
- Don’t be you
- Don’t express feelings
Breaking our scripts and bringing to light what they are and then changing our thinking patterns, can be a very helpful treatment for depression. Additionally, eating well, getting proper sleep/rest, and regular exercise/being physically active can help reduce symptoms of depression.
Remember, depression is highly treatable. Talk therapy is very effective in treating depression, but there are times when medication is necessary, as it can be the result of a direct medical condition or brain chemistry. Either way, getting connected with resources and assistance is critical.
It is important to address feelings of depression if you or a loved one experience them. EAC is here for you to explore where the “depression” may be coming from and work through your feelings.
To set up a time to talk, contact EAC today at 1-800-227-0905 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.