Penny Foreman - Individual and Couples Therapist

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Being clinically depressed is different than the “down” feeling that all people feel for brief periods of time or from the grief suffered for awhile after a loss.  When you are clinically depressed, your feelings are out of proportion to any external causes or just don’t go away.  As one might expect, depression can present itself as feeling sad or “having the blues.”  However, sadness may not always be the dominant feeling of a depressed person.  Depression can also be experienced as a numb or empty feeling or a noticeable loss in the ability to feel pleasure about anything.

Symptoms of clinical depression include:
  • Persistent, sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopeless, pessimism, guilt, helplessness and worthlessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
  • Problems getting to sleep, staying asleep, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite – increase or decrease
  • Increased restlessness, irritability, temper outbursts
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders, etc.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression strikes people of all ages, backgrounds and ethnic groups.  It is estimated that in any given one-year period, 9.5% of the population, or about 18.8 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness.  Left untreated, depression can interfere with normal functioning and cause pain and suffering, not only to those who have the disorder, but also to those who care about them in home, social and work settings.

Professional help is needed when symptoms of depression arise without a clear precipitating cause, when emotional reactions are out of proportion to life events, or when symptoms interfere with day-to-day functioning.  Professional help definitely should be sought immediately if a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Today, it is widely recognized that depression is a very treatable disorder and that getting treatment can save lives.  The most commonly used treatments for depression are psychotherapy, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy or antidepressant medications, or a combination of the two.  The choice of treatments depends on how severe the depressive symptoms are and the history of the disorder.

If I can be of help to you in answering your questions about depression and its treatment, please call me at 858-657-0007.