therapy depression Sage DeRosierFeeling blue or sad sometimes is not the same as experiencing clinical depression. Everyone feels unhappy now and then, but it’s usually associated with a particular reason. Someone suffering from depression can experience intense and ongoing unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, and negativity. And anyone can become depressed, even young children. A significant number of famous people, successful people who seem to have it all together also struggle with depression.

Living with depression is hard not only for people suffering from it, but it’s also hard on their family, friends, and others in their lives. Unfortunately, a person can get depressed without realizing it and then not know what to do about it.

If you have been experiencing four or more of the following signs or symptoms almost every day for at least two weeks, you may be in a depression:

  • Avoiding others, even close friends
  • Ongoing feelings of sadness
  • Low self-confidence and/or self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unable to enjoy things that have been pleasurable or interesting in the past
  • Feeling anxious or frightened all the time
  • Low energy almost all the time
  • Feeling helpless and/or hopeless
  • Trouble sleeping – falling asleep or waking up often or much earlier than usual
  • Intense feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty functioning at work and/or school
  • Significant increase or decrease in appetite
  • Sexual problems and/or reduced sex drive
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thinking about death and/or attempting suicide
  • Hurting yourself (self-harm such as cutting)

Therapy can provide you the opportunity to examine and talk through the issues that may be causing depression and to develop ways to resolve them. There are some modes of therapy that have proven to be particularly effective at helping alleviate symptoms of depression.

One of those modes is cognitive therapy (also known as cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT) which addresses how your thoughts and actions can cause depression. This type of therapy teaches how to identify patterns of behavior and thinking that are problematic and how to develop more satisfying patterns.

Some forms of psychotherapy that help with depression can be more intensive than counseling although many often use the terms counseling and psychotherapy interchangeably. Psychotherapy often looks at how past experience can be affecting your life now and it may involve exploring early experiences and significant relationships. Sometimes this type of therapy takes more time. However, there are shorter and more focused modes of therapy. Interpersonal therapy focuses on how you relate to and behave with others which can support you in improving your self-image and communicating more effectively with others.

If you have struggled with depression for a long time, your primary care physician may recommend consulting with a psychiatrist to learn if anti-depressant medication might help in combination with regular therapy sessions. Anti-depressants have worked for many people but sometimes there are side effects. You can discuss the pros and cons of medication with your physician or psychiatrist.