What is Depression?
Feeling sad, down or lethargic is a natural and expectable experience in life that most people will encounter at one time or another. However when someone is diagnosed with a depressive disorder it means that the sadness and lethargy has turned into a more pervasive condition in which a person’s outlook on life narrows, their daily performance is limited or stops and their bodily functioning is constricted, sometimes in a very profound way. In other words, someone suffering from a depressive disorder can appear as if the life has literally been sucked out of them.
Depressive disorders are one of the most prevalent mental illnesses affecting our current society. They impact the lives of children and adults, couples and families. As the causes for depressive disorders vary, it is important to consider an individual’s genetic, physical and dispositional factors as well as the environmental and human nurturing they received. The most common types of depressive disorders include major depressive disorder, dysthymia, substance/medication-induced depressive disorder, depressive disorder due to another medical condition and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, all of which differ in terms of duration, severity and timing and cause.
The typical symptoms one experiences while depressed are listed below and best remembered by the mnemonic, SIGE CAPS. Often five or more of these symptoms for a period of two weeks is a significant indicator for a major depressive disorder:
S- Suicidal ideation
I- Lack of Interest in doing things which once were perceived as pleasurable
G-Guilt and feeling worthless
E- Lack of Energy
C- Difficulty concentrating and reduced cognitive functioning
A-Lack or significant increase in Appetite
P-Psychomotor retardation and/or agitation
S- Increase or decrease in sleeping
Experiencing a depressive disorder can also feel like a pervasive sense of stuckness or numbness. And it’s important to note here that a pervasive sense of feeling stuck or numb may actually be pointing to unprocessed trauma, difficulties with executive functioning and overwhelm that a person is grappling with.
Depressive and related symptoms can be treated with a myriad of methods and interventions including: cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic methods, somatic and integrative approaches, problem solving and solution focused focused therapy, Gestalt, Mindfulness, Internal Family System therapy as well as psychotropic medication. The earlier a person who has a depressive disorder engages in treatment the better the outcome may be.
At BHAVA Therapy Group we strive to create a best fit approach between the client’s unique needs and personality structure and the intervention utilized. We work to equip our clients with effective tools to manage their depressive symptoms and gain a greater sense of mastery and control of their life. The therapeutic relationship is the cornerstone of all the interventions we utilize where clients can feel safe, supported, accepted and understood.