Everyone feels sad or down occasionally, but those suffering from depression experience these feelings more intensely and for a longer duration. They also usually experience other symptoms as well, including: fatigue, difficulty focusing, irritability, and changes in appetite or sleep habits.
Though many people think of depression as a single problem, there actually are several variations of depressive disorders at Star Meadow Counseling we treat the following:
Major Depressive Disorder, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that may interfere with a person’s ability to work, self-motivate, sleep, study, eat, socialize, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymic Disorder), is characterized by less severe but more persistent symptoms that occur continuously for two or more years. People with Persistent Depressive Disorder may also experience episodes of major depression.
Postpartum Depression, may occur when a new mother develops a major depressive episode within one month of delivery. Postpartum symptoms occur in as many as 10 to 15 percent of women after giving birth. The “baby blues”– transient waves of sadness and other mood symptoms– are even more prevalent, with up to 80% of women reporting those symptoms.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), is characterized by the onset of a depressive symptoms during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. SAD is particularly common in the Pacific Northwest. Depression generally lifts during sunny summer months. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but most will need additional types of therapy.
Bipolar Disorder, is characterized by dramatic mood episodes (lasting for days at a time) from overly “high”, manic, energetic, and/or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again. Sometimes there are periods of normal mood in between. Severe changes in behavior and energy go along with these changes in mood.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), is characterized by mood swings that correspond with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Symptoms may include irritability, self-depreciating thoughts, and tension. Some woman report feeling out of control, losing interest in normal activities, lethargy, or trouble sleeping.
FAQ about Depression Therapy
Is there a cure for depression?
What are the current evidenced-based treatments for depression?
Do you prescribe medication?
I'm having thoughts about suicide. What should I do?
- Thoughts of suicide happen much more frequently in the general population than most people realize. These thoughts can vary in intensity, from a purely passive form to an active form. Activesuicidal ideation involves a desire to die along with a plan and/or intent to kill oneself. Passive suicidal ideation involves a desire to die, but without any plan or intent to act. Since untreated depression is #1 risk factor for suicide, meeting with a professional counselor should happen as soon as possible. If you are having passive thoughts of suicide, please schedule an appointment with a counselor and ask for help developing a coping plan. Those with active suicidal ideation may require help more urgently. In fact, it can be considered a medical emergency. Below you’ll find emergency response options:
- Call the Clark County Crisis Line: 360-696-9560
- Call a National Suicide Hotline: (800) SUICIDE or (800) 273-TALK
- Text START to 741-741
- Go to the nearest Emergency Room
- Call 911
Resources for Depression Management
- “Mind Over Mood” by Greenberger & Padesky. This book provides a library of Cognitive-Behavioral worksheets, designed to guide you to new, more positive (and less depressing) self-talk.
- “Feeling Good” by David Burns. This book is a comprehensive toolbox of coping skills for depression based on a Cognitive-Behavioral treatment approach.
- “When Someone You Know Has Depression: Words to Say and Things to Do” by Susan Noonan. This book contains some great tips on how to be a support to a depressed loved one.
Depression Apps for Your Phone
1. Pacifica (mood-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy & meditation)
Cost: $3.99 monthly after free one-week trial
This app is an ideal complement to a cognitive behavioral therapy treatment plan. It provides a built-in thought diary for identifying and correcting distorted thought patterns. It allows you to track your mood, goals, and health habits. As a bonus, there are useful meditation and deep breathing exercises. Click here for a 30-second introductory video.
2. Stay Alive (suicide prevention)
Among other tools, this app features instant access to crisis hotlines, a customizable mini-safety plan, a list of practical strategies for maintaining personal safety, and a LifeBox for uploading pictures from your phone to remind you of reasons to stay alive. Note: If you are having thoughts of suicide, an app alone will not take the place of professional counseling or emergency crisis services (1-800-273-TALK).
3. Wunderlist (productivity)
Difficulty focusing and self-motivating are common depression symptoms. Wunderlist is useful for breaking down overwhelming tasks with to-do lists, deadline setting, and coordination with others. For many, getting organized can be the first step toward a more motivated, managed life.
Websites & Forums
- Depression Chat Rooms: Sometimes it feels really nice to hear a “me too” from others with depression. Know that you are not alone. This site contains forums, blogs, chat rooms, and help lines for those with depression.
- Mood Gym: This popular site provides a guided CBT training program for preventing and coping with depression.
- Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance: The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) is a peer-directed national organization. According to the DBSA, over 21 million Americans are impacted by bipolar disorder and depression. DBSA provides a variety of resources, inspiration, and educational materials.