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Depression Workshop

What are the different types of depression?
Although there are many forms of depression, there are basically two forms that the general public deal with:

  • Situational depression
  • Major depression.

Situational depression occurs when you have experienced a stress, such as a sick child, divorce, maybe you’re overloaded at work. These outside or external stressors affect your ability to work or function at home. We call it situational, because once the stressor is gone the depression will typically get better.

The second type of depression is more serious, and generally requires the use of medication and psychotherapy. It is called major depression. Major depression is characterized by an inability to function. The patient either wants to sleep all the time or their sleep is interrupted. They either lose their appetites or they medicate with food. They typically lack energy and they have trouble performing normal, routine tasks. This complicates things further and they feel overwhelmed as a result. They may have suicidal ideation with even a plan on how to carry out suicide. There is a general sense of hopelessness and worthlessness that accompanies depression.

What are the major causes of depression?
Sometimes it’s possible to point to a specific event that seems to have triggered a depression. As I indicated, it may be external events. Oftentimes, loss is a trigger for depression. Loneliness resulting from relationship difficulties may contribute. Financial worries, legal problems, retirement, and other stressors may contribute. Grief due to the death of a loved one may progress to full-blown depression. Genetics may contribute as well. Researchers have determined that inherited factors may be important. That’s why a doctor will most likely get a good family history to find out if there are other close relatives that have been depressed. You will more than likely experience depression if you have had a loved one experience significant depression.

Depression is common. It’s more common than you might imagine. It affects people of all ages and races, all around the world and in all walks of life. Studies in the United States have shown that at any given time about 5% of the population may be diagnosed with having major depression. At least 10% of all Americans will experience major depression at some point in their life. Some people believe this figure is as high as 25%. Unfortunately, those who have had one bout of serious depression may experience five bouts of it over the course of their life. It’s important to learn how to manage it so that if it comes back, you will know the second time how to successfully treat depression.

What is the most effective remedy for severe depression?
When people experience severe depression, they need a two-fold approach. They need medication to help return their chemical balance, and they need counseling to help them adjust to the many ways they are going to need to help their medication. Generally, antidepressants increase the supply of neurotransmitters in the brain and this will restore chemical balance. There are two main categories of antidepressants:
1. One increases serotonin
2. The other increases dopamine.
You will need to work with your doctor to determine which antidepressant is most appropriate for you.

Psychotherapy or talk therapy may be appropriate for depression as well. It can be helpful, either by itself or in combination with medication. For some people suffering from mild depression, psychotherapy may be the only treatment needed because when you increase your exercise or write down the things you need to do in your day to be more organized, this, in combination with figuring out what you need to do to change the stress in your life, it may be just what you need to get over the depression. There are several types of therapy: cognitive, behavioral, and interpersonal. Your doctor should be able to recommend a good specialist based on your personality type.

For severe depression, however, the combination of medication and psychotherapy is the most helpful.

What effect does depression have on our bodies?
As I indicated before, there are two chemicals in the body that need to be regulated when depression occurs. They are serotonin and dopamine.

How can I cope with postpartum depression?
This is terribly serious, because it requires that doctor monitor your functioning. Postpartum depression, as you well know, is brought on by hormonal changes in the body and a doctor will most likely be able to monitor these chemicals and make sure you are receiving the proper treatment. Clarian has some very helpful postpartum depression groups for women who are experience the “baby blues” and this, in combination with medication and a good psychotherapist, has been extremely helpful. If you need a referral into a postpartum depression group, you can always call the IPA Glendale office at 317-475-6200 and ask for me, and I will get you into the right place.

What role does spirituality play in dealing with depression?
For many people, spirituality is an extremely important aspect of combating depression. What we know is that a lot of people experience depression because they really feel isolated and alone. Spirituality helps to fill that void. It’s important to find spiritual guidance in a church that understands chronic depression.

How can I cope with the loss of a loved one?
It’s very natural to experience a variety of feelings after you use a loved one. Most of you know that there are stages that you go through—shock, denial, anger or sadness (most men feel angry and then sad about losing a loved one; most women feel sad then angry). Once you go through these natural feelings, you will get to acceptance of your loss. However, in my practice, I see more people get stuck and they are unable to move through the stages. They either stay very angry or very sad, and that’s when psychotherapy and medication can be very helpful in getting people to express these feelings, externalize them, bring them out of the body, and then work through them.

Depression is more than sadness. It really is when you have difficulty with your normal day and you have experienced these feelings for over three weeks. It’s important to understand that depression is not your fault. There is no reason to feel ashamed. It is a disorder, not a sign of weakness or lack of willpower. Seek treatment! Don’t deal with depression by yourself.

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