Phone: (510) 428-0111
DEPRESSION / MARITAL CONFLICT
/ ANXIETY / STRESS
/ CHRONIC ILLNESS
Causes of Depression
and stress. Factors such as financial problems, the breakup of a relationship,
or the death of a loved one can bring on depression. One can also become
depressed after changes in one's life which are seen as positive, such
as starting a new job, graduating from school, or getting married.
personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook
on life are at higher risk of becoming depressed.
psychological disorders. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia,
and especially substance abuse, often appear along with, and can cause,
in the brain. There can be physical changes in the brain related to
an imbalance of chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters, which can
lead to depression.
history. Genetics plays an important part in depression. Depression
can run in families for many generations.
illnesses. Serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer,
and HIV can contribute to depression, partly because of the physical weakness
and stress the illness brings about. In some cases, depression can be
caused by the physiology of the illness itself or by medications used
to treat the illness.
Who Gets Depression?
of Americans will have depression during their lifetime.
are almost twice as likely to become depressed as men. The higher
risk may be due in part to hormonal changes brought on by puberty, menstruation,
menopause, and pregnancy.
have a lower risk of depression, however when they are depressed they
are more likely to go undiagnosed and less likely to seek help. Men sometimes
show the typical symptoms of depression, but more commonly they will appear
hostile or will mask their condition with alcohol or drug abuse. Suicide
is an especially serious risk for men with depression, who are four times
more likely than women to kill themselves.
people often lose loved ones and have to adjust to living alone. They
may become physically ill and unable to be as active as they once were.
These changes can all contribute to depression. Loved ones may attribute
the signs of depression to the normal results of aging, and many older
people are reluctant to talk about their symptoms. As a result, older
people may not receive the treatment for their depression that they need.
Types of Depression
Depressive Disorder, commonly referred to as "Clinical Depression,"
can severely disrupt one's work, relationships, and other areas of life.
If symptoms last for more than two weeks, and these feelings are interfering
with daily life, one may be clinically depressed. The symptoms of depression
include: feelings of sadness, irritability, decreased interest in usual
activities or hobbies, loss of energy, a change in appetite, weight loss
or weight gain, a change in sleeping patterns, such as difficulty sleeping,
early morning awakening, or sleeping too much, decreased concentration,
feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide.
Disorder consists of periods of Major Depressive Disorder alternating
with Manic episodes, lasting for at least one week. Manic episodes are
characterized by abnormally elevated, expansive, or irritable mood with
the following additional symptoms: inflated self-esteem or grandiosity,
decreased need for sleep, rapid speech, racing thoughts, distractibility,
an increase in goal-directed activity, agitation, and excessive involvement
in pleasurable activities which may have painful consequences (buying
sprees, sexual indiscretions, foolish business investments).
is a milder form of depression. People who have this disorder feel mildly
depressed on most days over a period of at least two years. This disorder
can last for an entire lifetime. Individuals with this condition have
many symptoms resembling Major Depressive Disorder, but with less severity.
Affective Disorder has symptoms that are seen with any Major Depressive
Disorder or Bipolar Disorder. It is the recurrence of the symptoms commonly
in the Fall and Winter seasons that is the hallmark of this type of depression.
Depression is a type of depression that can occur in women who have
recently given birth. It typically occurs in the first few months after
delivery, but can happen within the first year after giving birth. Often,
postpartum depression interferes with the mother's ability to bond with
her newborn. Postpartum depression is different from the "Baby Blues",
which tends to occur in the first few days after delivery and resolves
Depression is highly treatable with psychotherapy under
the care of a qualified Psychologist.
depression is especially important because it can affect all aspects
of life- one's work, social life, and family life. Some people with depression
contemplate suicide in the mistaken belief that their depression will
never go away. However, most individuals will respond very well to treatment
for depression. The most common forms of psychotherapy used in the treatment
of depression are psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy
(CBT), and medication.
used to treat depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
(SSRIs), new classes of anti-depressant medications, tricyclic antidepressants,
electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
therapies are often utilized (psychotherapy and medication).
Therapy, one goal is to help an individual understand unconscious
conflicts which may be causing their depression. Often, there are unresolved
issues from childhood which have continued into adulthood that are at
the root of their depression. The mode of this type of therapy is to explore
thoughts, emotions, relationships, behaviors, and dreams. This process
can help an individual understand and come to terms with their conflicts,
which can in turn decrease their depression.
Behavioral Therapy, one goal is to decrease the depression which an
individual may be experiencing by encouraging them to engage in pleasurable
activities which may improve their mood. Another goal is to teach the
individual how to recognize and cope with depressive thoughts and feelings
to prevent them from spiraling out of control.