Having the blues or moments of sadness is a normal part of life. All people experience times of feeling down in the dumps. The absence of this experience prevents us from appreciating the good things in life. Depression may be triggered by difficult life events such as the death of a loved one, relationship ending, being fired from a job, or having children leave for college or moving out on their own. Other times, depression may be the result of having disappointing experiences or things not going our way.
Major depression is a serious condition. It is the second most common mental health condition in the U.S. At any given time, millions of people around the world encounter profound feelings of hopelessness and sadness. Clinical depression is defined as two weeks or more of debilitating symptoms that include:
- Depressed mood defined as feelings of despair and sadness
- Loss of interest in activities that were previously pleasurable
- Increased fatigue and lethargy
- Sleep changes (either significant increase or decrease of sleeping behavior)
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Decreased interest in sex
- Either increase or decrease in appetite leading to significant weight gain or loss
- Feeling worthless or like a failure
- Increased thoughts of death, self harm, or suicide
- Irritability, frustration, and anger
If the feelings of sadness and hopelessness persist for at least two weeks or if feeling blue is getting in the way of doing important life activities, consider being evaluated for treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been shown to be effective in helping people with depression. The techniques of Behavioral Activation and Cognitive Restructuring can reduce your symptoms. In some cases, CBT in combination with psychiatric medication may be indicated.
Pacific CBT therapists are specially trained to assess and treat clients with depression. Our therapists are pleased to speak with you about treatment options. Call or email us today!
If you are experiencing severe depression and contemplating suicide, go to your nearest hospital emergency department or call 9-1-1 immediately.