WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Are you experiencing pervasive changes in mood, thinking, social interaction and behavior that significantly impair a person’s day-to-day functioning and quality of life. At the core of these changes is either a pervasive feeling of sadness or “the blues” or a loss of interest and pleasure in normally enjoyable activities (or both).
A major depressive episode is a clinical term that describes a time-period when a person experiences a cluster of depression symptoms daily or nearly every day for at least two weeks or more. As stated before, these symptoms negatively impact one’s functioning.
In addition, there are other, milder forms of depressive disorders that do not impair functioning as much but that still have a negative impact on a person’s life.
WHO SUFFERS FROM DEPRESSION?
Estimates indicate that 10-25% of women and 5-12% of men will experience an episode of clinical depression at some time in their lives.
Perhaps you are not experiencing depression at this moment yourself, but you may know someone who is. You may feel of its impact indirectly as you are concerned about that person and see them suffering firsthand. Your relationship with that individual may be negatively affected as well. In its impact on personal well-being and relationships, depression is a debilitating illness and can be potentially dangerous to the depressed person if left untreated.
HOW CAN I KNOW IF I AM DEPRESSED?
If you suspect your suffering from depression, here are some signs to look for:
Changes in Mood
- Persistent feelings of sadness, despair or “the blues”
- Loss of pleasure in activities that you normally enjoy
- Loss of motivation or interest in daily activities
- Feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness
- Unreasonable or excessive guilt
- Increased irritability
Changes in Thinking
- A persistent pattern of pessimistic, self-critical, negative thinking
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Difficulty concentrating or “foggy thinking”
- Poor short-term memory
Changes in Behavior
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia, restless or disturbed sleep, or sleeping too much)
- Eating more or less than usual
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Frequent crying
Change in Physiology
- Changes in appetite (more or less than usual)
- Digestive problems
- Headaches or chronic pain
- Loss of libido
- Constant fatigue
Often family and friends are the first ones to notice that something is wrong. It is not uncommon for a person to be depressed and not realize it because the changes are so gradual. This can create problems when a person’s low mood has a significant, negative impact on close relationships and the depressed individual does not recognize that they are depressed. For this reason, it is important to be open to the feedback of caring family members and seek help if you suspect you may be depressed.
HOW CAN COUNSELING HELP WITH DEPRESSION?
At Bevill and Associates LLC, serving Birmingham and surrounding areas, one of our qualified counselors can work with you to provide a safe and trusting environment for healing to take place. Research on the therapeutic components of effective therapy indicates that some of the most important elements—as influential as the specific techniques and tools your counselor uses to treat depression—include the helping relationship itself that you develop with a caring and trusted professional who will listen to you carefully and provide guidance and support, and an environment that instills hope, or a positive expectancy.
Counseling can also help you to organize a plan that involves trying out different behaviors, practicing new ways of thinking, developing new perspectives, and making changes in how you relate to yourself and to others. Having a counselor work with you can be like having your own coach/consultant/ practitioner in your corner, helping you to clarify your goals, see the steps to take to reach your goals, avoid the pitfalls along the way and to use the personal strengths you have to enhance your recovery.
TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
If you have any questions or would like to contact us by email, you can complete a brief confidential contact form. Once you submit the contact form, a Bevill and Associates intake staff member will respond as soon as possible.
Bevill and Associates LLC is located in Birmingham, AL (on Valleydale Rd between I65 and Hwy. 280). Please click here for our full address and a map to our location. We are currently accepting new clients and warmly welcome self-referrals and referrals from physicians and other professionals.