Depression & Bipolar Counseling

What Is Major Depressive Disorder?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.

There are times you may feel sad, lonely, or hopeless for a few days. But major depression — clinical depression — is disabling. It can prevent you from functioning normally. An episode of clinical depression may occur only once in a person’s lifetime. More often, though, it recurs throughout a person’s life.

In addition, with major depression, one of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest. The symptoms should be present daily or for most of the day or nearly daily for at least two weeks. Also, the depressive symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning. The symptoms cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance — drug abuse, medications, a medical condition, or within two months of the loss of a loved one.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, Contact Symmetry Counseling today to learn about our depression counseling and treatment options.

What Is Chronic Depression or Dysthymia?

Chronic depression, or dysthymia, is characterized by a long-term (two years or more) depressed mood. Chronic depression is less severe than major depression and typically does not disable the person. If you have dysthymia or chronic depression, you may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during your lifetime.

What Is Bipolar Depression or Manic Depression

Bipolar disorder – sometimes referred to as manic depression — is a complex mood disorder that alternates between periods of clinical depression and times of extreme elation or mania. There are two subtypes of bipolar disorder: bipolar I and bipolar II.

With bipolar I disorder, patients have a history of at least one manic episode with or without major depressive episodes.

With bipolar II disorder, patients have a history of at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic (mildly elated) episode.

How Is Seasonal Depression (SAD) Different From Other Types of Depression?

Seasonal Depression, often called seasonal affective disorder or SAD, is a depression that occurs each year at the same time. It usually starts in the fall or winter and ends in spring or early summer. It is more than just “the winter blues” or “cabin fever.”

A rare form of SAD, known as “summer depression,” begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall.

Causes of Depression

Have you ever wondered what causes clinical depression? Perhaps you have been diagnosed with major depression, and that’s made you question why some people get depressed while others don’t.

Depression is an extremely complex disease. It occurs for a variety of reasons. Some people experience depression during a serious medical illness. Others may have depression with life changes such as a move or the death of a loved one. Still others have a family history of depression. Those who do may experience depression and feel overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness for no known reason.

What Are the Main Causes of Depression?

There are a number of factors that may increase the chance of depression, including the following:

  • Abuse: Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can cause depression later in life.
  • Certain medications: For example, some drugs used to treat high blood pressure can increase your risk of depression.
  • Conflict: Depression may result from personal conflicts or disputes with family members or friends.
  • Death or a loss: Sadness or grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, can also increase the risk of depression.
  • Genetics: A family history of depression may increase the risk. It’s thought that depression is passed genetically from one generation to the next. The exact way this happens, though, is not known.
  • Major events: Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring.
  • Other personal problems: Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can lead to depression.
  • Serious illnesses: Sometimes depression co-exists with a major illness or is a reaction to the illness.
  • Substance abuse: Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression.

Treating Depression at Symmetry Counseling

Research has found that counseling, also known as therapy and talk therapy, can help alleviate the symptoms of depression.

Through these counseling sessions you learn about the causes of depression which enables you to better understand it. You will also learn how to recognize specific triggers for depression and to identify unhealthy thoughts and behaviors which can serve to reinforce your symptoms.

Counseling will also provide a safe atmosphere to explore relationships and past experiences, find better ways to cope with and solve problems, help ease feelings of hopelessness and anger, and increase a sense of happiness and control in your life