How we Can Help Treat Your Depression
“Depression is an illness just like any other and shouldn’t be viewed as a weakness or as something shameful. If you suffer from depression, we can talk about the available strategies that can help you to start enjoying your life again”.
What is depression?
Depression is far more than occasionally feeling unhappy or blue. It is a complex mood disorder caused by a variety of factors, including altered brain chemistry, stress and genetic predisposition. If you suffer from depression, it is not something that you can simply “snap out of” or will away. It is an illness like other illnesses and requires professional help. Think of it this way: if you were diabetic or had heart disease, no one would think it wise for you to manage your condition without help! Depression is no different- it is a disorder that requires treatment from a professional who is knowledgeable about depression and the many ways to treat it.
What are the symptoms of depression?
If you have been feeling sad or blue for more than a couple of weeks, and you feel this way almost every day, it is time to seek help. The following are some common symptoms of depression:
- changes in eating habits (loss of appetite or eating all the time)
- changes in sleeping habits (can’t get out of bed, can’t fall asleep)
- loss of interest in the things that used to bring you joy (people, activities, hobbies)
- feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, shame or guilt
- crying all the time (or feeling like you want to cry all the time)
- memory/concentration problems
- thoughts of suicide
If the way you feel is impacting your job, your family life and/or your social life, it’s time to seek help. If you are suicidal, it is important to seek immediate help.
Do I need to see a psychiatrist if I have depression?
Not necessarily. All doctors receive training in recognizing and managing depression. We see many patients with depression. We help our patients to recognize their symptoms, identify possible causative factors and come up with a plan to treat their condition. Our goal is to minimize your symptoms so that your depression does not take over your life. Depression does not define who you are- we want to help you recognize this fact.
If your depression is very severe and long-standing, we may decide together in consultation that you require treatment beyond what we can offer. If this is the case, we can refer you to the right person for your needs.
Do I have to take medication?
Many people benefit from medications to treat depression. This goes back to our earlier comment that depression is an illness like any other illness. Depression is often related to changes in brain chemistry. Medications for depression work by “evening out” imbalances in certain chemicals in the brain that may be contributing to your depression.
Of course, depression is usually the result of more than one factor. For example, you may have a strong family history of depression. You may also have a health condition causing you to feel unwell physically. If you become unemployed, have a close family member who is very ill or you are going through a divorce, any one of these events may become “the straw that breaks the camel’s back”. Together, we can decide on strategies that may be of help, such as joining a support group and working together to improve your physical health.
Regardless of whether or not we decide that medication may be helpful in your case, you need a medical professional who understands depression and can help you decide how to manage your depression going forward.
If you feel that you are, or might be, depressed please don’t wait to make an appointment to come and talk to me. Life is too short and you deserve to feel happy. Together, we can make a difference in how you feel so that you can once again feel like an active participant in your life.