San Diego Therapist
Individual Therapy - Couples & Marriage Counseling - Family Therapy

 
anxiety, postpartum depression, bipolar disorder and manic depressive disorder
     

Treating Depression

Despite how you may feel, depression, including postpartum depression, is not hopeless. Depression treatment can be very effective and usually involves therapy and/or medicine, usually anti-depressants. Research shows that the combination of talk therapy and anti-depressants is the most effective treatment for depression. However, recent studies have shown that the improvements gained from therapy are maintained better over time after treatment has stopped than the improvements made with medication. This is not surprising because, in most cases, the cause of depression is not simply one thing; rather, clinical depression is usually caused by a combination of social, situational, psychological and biological factors. Talk therapy is better suited than medication alone to address all of these factors.

Couples Counseling

People sometimes describe their mood as “anxiety depression” and anxiety is often a symptom of depression. Luckily, treatment for anxiety goes hand-in-hand with treatment for depression and people often find that as their depression is alleviated, so is their anxiety, even without separate treatment aimed at the anxiety. (Keep in mind, however, that rather than experiencing anxiety, some people experience passivity as a sign of depression.)

Post partum depression or pregnancy depression may have a hormonal component, but the depression cure remains the same. However, if you have postpartum depression or pregnancy depression and are nursing, you may prefer to avoid taking anti-depressants and want to try therapy alone. That is fine; research shows therapy by itself is an effective treatment for overcoming depression, though in some cases it may take a little bit longer than combining therapy with anti-depressants.

Symptoms of Depression

People experience depression in different ways and depression in you may look very different than depression in your neighbor. You do not have to have all of the symptoms of depression listed here to be considered depressed. A diagnosis of depression will depend on the number and the severity of your symptoms, among other factors. Also, if you are a parent, it is important to know that childhood or teenage depression may look different than adult depression. With children and teen depression, irritability may be the primary sign of depression, not a depressed mood.

Symptoms of depression can be emotional and/or physical. Some of the more common emotional symptoms include:

• Feeling sad or miserable.
• Feeling exhausted or feeling you have no energy.
• Feeling as if even the smallest tasks are impossible.
• Not enjoying the things that you used to enjoy, possibly including reduced sex drive or reduced appetite (or you may be eating more to comfort yourself).
• Feeling anxious.
• Not wanting to see people, or feeling scared to be alone.
• Feeling social activity is too hard or impossible.
• Having difficulty thinking clearly.
• Feeling like a failure. You may feel like all you've ever done is make mistakes and that's all that you ever will do.
• Feeling guilty a lot of the time.
• Feeling like you’re a burden to others.
• Feeling life isn't worth living (depending on how seriously you feel this, you may want to call the San Diego crisis line – click here).
• Difficulty seeing the future.
• Feeling hopeless.
• Feeling irritable or angry more than usual.
• Feeling no self-confidence.
• Spending a lot of time thinking about what has gone wrong, what will go wrong or what is wrong about yourself as a person.
• Feeling life is unfair.
• Feeling life has or is "passing you by"

Some of the more common physical symptoms of depression include:

• Headaches.
• Back pain.
• Muscle aches and joint pain.
• Any kind of chronic pain may feel worse.
• Chest pain. (If you have chest pain, it’s crucial to get this checked out by a medical doctor immediately.)
• Digestive problems, i.e., feeling queasy or nauseous, or having diarrhea or chronic constipation.
• Exhaustion and fatigue. No matter how much you sleep, you may still feel tired or worn out. Getting out of the bed in the morning may seem very hard, even impossible.
• Sleep Difficulty. Unable to sleep well anymore, i.e., waking up too early, unable to fall asleep at night, sleeping much more than normal, or have disturbing dreams.
• Change in appetite or weight (increased or decreased)
• Increase or decrease in appetite and/or weight. • Dizziness or lightheadedness.

If You Think You Are Depressed

If you think you are depressed, remember it is treatable. As mentioned above, research shows that a combination of talk therapy and anti-depressants is the best treatment for most people. However, only you know what you are comfortable with. Some people choose to work it out by themselves, but most people benefit from some assistance. I recommend you investigate both therapy and medicine in order to determine what works for you.

I would be happy to talk with you about what you are experiencing and how I may be able to help you through therapy. When treating depression, I draw from a variety of therapeutic approaches, tailoring the treatment to the needs and desires of each client. If you would like to learn more about my approach to therapy, please click here.

Currently, many therapists use a cognitive-behavioral approach to treating depression. While I do use elements of cognitive-behavioral therapy, I do not believe it is complete on its own and in fact, studies show that the positive gains made with cognitive-behavioral therapy by itself are only short-term. In order to make a more lasting change for my clients, I incorporate elements of positive psychology, experiential therapy, attachment theory, humanistic therapy and other approaches, depending on the client. No one thing works for everyone, and it has been my experience that being able to draw from a spectrum of different techniques allows me to work successfully with a variety of people.

Please note, even if you start therapy and do not want to take anti-depressants, it is still a good idea to consult with a medical doctor in order to eliminate any possible physical causes of depression.

     

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Susannah Muller, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #49050
San Diego Counseling & Therapy
5665 Oberlin Dr., Suite 201, San Diego, CA 92121
(619) 787-2743

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