Kimberly Callen, LCSW,  NBCCH
St George, Utah
Depression

Description
Depression, also known as major depression, major depressive disorder, or clinical depression, is a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive low mood and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities. When a person's feelings of sadness persist beyond a few weeks, he or she may have depression. Researchers do not know the exact mechanisms that trigger depression. However, two neurotransmitters-natural substances that allow brain cells to communicate with one another-are implicated in depression: serotonin and norepinephrine.

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), about 6.7% of U.S. adults experience major depressive order. Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression during their lifetime.

Clinical Depression versus Normal Sadness
At some time or another, virtually all adult human beings will experience a tragic or unexpected loss, romantic heartbreak, or a serious setback and times of profound sadness, grief, or distress. Indeed, something is awry if the usual expressions of sadness do not accompany such situations so common to the human condition—death of a loved one, severe illness, prolonged disability, loss of employment or social status, or a child’s difficulties, for example.

Depression, however, differs both quantitatively and qualitatively from normal sadness or grief. Normal states of an aversive mood state are typically less pervasive and generally run a more time-limited course. Moreover, some of the symptoms of severe depression only rarely accompany “normal” sadness. Suicidal thoughts and psychotic symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations virtually always signify depression versus normal sadness
.

Symptoms
Changes in appetite and sleeping patterns; feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and inappropriate guilt; withdrawal from social situations, loss of interest or pleasure in formerly important activities; fatigue; inability to concentrate; overwhelming sadness; disturbed thinking; reduced sex drive, physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches; and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Diagnosis
The diagnosis is made if a person has suffered one or more major depressive episodes. Diagnosis is based on the patient's self-reported experiences and observed behavior and above symptoms. There is no laboratory test for major depression, although physicians often test for physical conditions that may cause similar symptoms before arriving at a diagnosis. The term clinical depression merely means the episode of depression is serious enough to require treatment. Major depression is marked by far more severe symptoms, such as literally being unable to drag oneself out of bed. Another form of depression, known as seasonal affective disorder, is associated with seasonal changes in the amount of available daylight. Postpartum depression, is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth.

Treatment
There are numerous medications that have been successful treating people with depression. Individuals should seek the care of a psychiatrist for proper evaluation, medication, and follow up care.  

Along with medical care, EMDR is often very successful in treating major depression. Some types of cognitive/behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy may be effective for those with less severe depression.  Each case is treated individually, but there are a variety of approaches that have proven to help those with depression.

Special bright light helps many people who have seasonal affective disorder. 

  



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Kimberly Callen, LCSW, NBCCH
107 S 1470 East   St George, UT  84790 
435-574-4399
kcredmountain@gmail.com   www.redmountaincounseling.net

 

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