Depression can be a clear-cut, obvious illness that causes changes in mood, appetite and sleep. But more commonly it is experienced as a subtle slide into a different state of mind where laughter comes less often, irritability rises up and energy seeps away. Often described as “feeling like the flu”, depression can also cause a wide range of physical discomfort such as chest pain, achiness, headaches, chronic pain and digestive disorders.
In addition, since there are several types of depression, it can be hard to recognize seasonal shifts in mood (Seasonal Affective Disorder), daily or hourly shifts in mood (Bi-polar Disorder), or a chronic mild mood dip (Dysthymia). These are all more difficult to recognize and diagnose than the chronic, severe saddened mood, feelings of hopelessness and decreased energy common in Major Depressive Disorder.
The good news is that despite the commonality of depression in all of its forms, it is one of the most treatable mental health conditions. There are many treatments known to help with mild to severe depressive symptoms including mindfulness interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication management. We offer these treatments as well as alternative treatments of biofeedback and acupuncture, which have also been found to help with some depressive disorders.
It is also important to keep in mind that depression research is now showing that vitamin deficiencies and certain physical illnesses may show up as depressive symptoms. It is therefore important to have a physical exam to rule out any of these contributing factors.
If you suspect that you have been feeling symptoms of any type of depression you can complete this Depression Scale (https://psychology-tools.com/zung-depression-scale/) and/or Contact Us so we can evaluate what next steps might be appropriate for you.